Measles virus (MeV) may persist in the brain, causing fatal neurodegenerative diseases, subacute sclerosing panencephalitis, and measles inclusion-body encephalitis. However, the mechanism of MeV propagation in the brain remains unexplained because human neurons affected by the diseases do not express the known receptors for MeV. Recent studies have revealed that certain changes in the ectodomain of the MeV fusion (F) protein play a key role in MeV spread in the brain. These changes destabilize the prefusion form of the F protein and render it hyperfusogenic, which in turn allows the virus to propagate in neurons. Based on crystal structures of the F protein, effective fusion inhibitors could be developed to treat these diseases.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Microbiology (medical)
- Infectious Diseases