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At ScienceDaily: Cell defenses have evolved to turn the tables on viral attacks by using bait and sounding an alarm


Sometimes Darwinians are a parody of themselves:

Scientists are opening new windows into understanding more about the constantly shifting evolutionary arms race between viruses and the hosts they seek to infect. Host organisms and pathogens are in a perennial chess match to exploit each other’s weaknesses…

“In our paper we’re showing that NLRP1 acts to bait viral protease cleavage and set off a sort of alarm, or tripwire, in the organism,” said Tsu, the lead author of the study. “This is like an Achilles heel to the virus. This allows the host organism to evolve ways to take advantage of this evolutionarily constrained cleavage.”

Daugherty said the results offer an interesting switch of conventional beliefs about virus-host dynamics.

“We often think of viruses taking advantage of the fact that hosts evolve slowly, but we’re seeing that the hosts have turned the tables and used the fact that the viruses are really stuck here to their advantage, and therefore they use this constraint to activate an immune response.”

While evolution is often considered to occur one step after another, the viruses analyzed in this study would need to simultaneously alter numerous regions within their viral proteins to evolve around the tripwire defense, which would be extremely difficult.

University of California – San Diego, “Immune system sets ‘tripwire’ to protect against viruses” at ScienceDaily

And this all happens by chance with no intelligence underlying nature?

The paper is open access.

See also: Why do many scientists see cells as intelligent? Bacteria appear to show intelligent behavior. But what about individual cells in our bodies?

Immunity doesn't exist now. These folks are behind the curve. polistra

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