A new study has found that an endogenous protein (one that originates within the body’s systems) prevents coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2, from fusing with host cells. The protein, called LY6e, is produced by the human immune system. Researchers from Germany, Switzerland have published their findings in the journal Nature Microbiology.
LY6e was discovered in 2017, during research by virologist Stephanie Pfänder (then with the Institute of Virology and Immunology in Switzerland, now with Ruhr-Universität Bochum in Germany) in Charles Rice’s lab at Rockefeller University in New York, in order to identify genes that prevent coronavirus infections.
Since then, further investigations has shown that the protein exerted this inhibitory effect on all analysed coronaviruses, including. Tests with different cell cultures have shown that LY6e affects the ability of the virus to fuse with the host cells.
This was validated in an animal model. Mice lacking Ly6e in immune cells were found highly susceptible to a normally non-lethal mouse coronavirus and succumb to infection.
Source: Ruhr-University Bochum
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