DOE Pulse

X-rays reveal flu virus traits

New findings from research performed on the influenza virus using X-rays generated by the Advanced Photon Source at DOE's Argonne National Laboratory may help pave the way for the development of a new, more effective vaccine that could combat a wide range of strains of the common and frequently deadly illness. A group from the Scripps Research Institute in California used X-rays provided by the APS's National Institute of General Medical Sciences/National Cancer Institute Collaborative-Access Team (GM/CA-CAT) beamline to examine structures of the viral protein hemagluttinin from different strains of the virus. The researchers showed that a recently isolated, broadly neutralizing antibody bound to a conserved helical part of the "stalk" region of hemagluttinins from different strains of the virus.  This result could allow researchers to tailor vaccines that would allow immunized patients to produce antibodies that would bind to the largely shared "stalk" regions of different viruses' hemagluttinin.  Once the antibody binds to the stalk, the virus cannot change its conformation and infect the cell.

[Jared Sagoff, 630.252.5549,]