How human RNA resists viral takeover:
In the Muller Lab, student researchers work with Muller studying how Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) hides for years inside the human body before seeking to gain control over human gene expression to complete the viral infection. At that point, people with a weakened immune system may develop Kaposi sarcoma cancer lesions in the mouth, skin or other organs.
The researchers use genome-wide sequencing, post-transcriptional sequencing and molecular biology to examine how the human cell or the virus knows how to prevent degradation.
“Viruses are very smart, that’s what I love to say,” Muller says. “They have lots of strategies to stick around, and they don’t do a lot of damage for a very long time, because that’s one way to hide from the immune system.
“But then, at some point — many, many years later — they reactivate. The way they do this is by triggering a massive RNA degradation event where the virus will wipe out the mRNA from the cell. That means the human system can no longer express the proteins that it needs to express, and that means also that a lot of resources are suddenly available for the virus.”
How and why some RNA are able to escape the viral degradation are questions Muller’s team — including lead author and graduate student Daniel Macveigh-Fierro and co-authors and undergraduates Angelina Cicerchia, Ashley Cadorette and Vasudha Sharma — has been investigating.
“We show that RNA that escape have a chemical tag on them — a post-transcriptional modification — that makes them different from the others,” Muller explains. “By having this tag, M6A, they can recruit proteins that protect them from degradation.”University of Massachusetts Amherst, “Research advances knowledge of the battle between viruses and human cells” at ScienceDaily (February 18, 2022)
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It’s becoming harder for researchers to claim that there is no intelligence in nature. That’s probably why so many of them are embracing panpsychism. They want a way to include intelligence in nature without an intelligence outside nature. It won’t work but at least it makes more sense in relation to the evidence.
You may also wish to read: Neuroscientist: Even viruses are intelligent Antonio Damasio says, in the excerpt from his new book, that — based on the evidence — we cannot deny viruses “some fraction” of intelligence. Researchers who study viruses, including the one that causes COVID, note similarities between viral strategies and those of insects and animals.