Metalloenzymes: A New Focus for Antiviral Drug Design?
The very intimate relation that exists between a virus and its host can be seen by considering the influenza virus and its “life” cycle in Man. The core of this virion comprises a nucleoprotein coat or capsid surrounding the viral RNA. It includes a virion transcriptase enzyme which transcribes a copy of the single strand RNA (complementary strand mRNA). Surrounding the core is the matrix protein, and this, in turn, is encased in a lipoprotein envelope which is bounded by an outer lipid membrane. The virion interacts with its environment by means of two types of spikes it carries on the envelope. The first of these contains haemagglutinin which binds to sialic acid residues on cell membranes. The second type of spike contains the enzyme neuraminidase which removes neuraminic acid side chains from mucoproteins, a process which may facilitate penetration of the virion into the cell or help in the release of newly formed virus particles.
KeywordsInfluenza Virus Sialic Acid Residue Chelate Zinc Enzyme Neuraminidase Form Virus Particle
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