Chikungunya is an infectious disease caused by a mosquito-borne virus transmitted to humans. First detected in Africa, the virus has caused the recent epidemics in the Americas, Asia and the Indian Ocean – particularly the Reunion Island. Chikungunya is characterized by high fever and intense joint and muscle pain that can last for several months. Researchers still do not understand the mechanisms by which the virus infects human cells, but a team by Ali Amara in collaboration with Marc Lecuit from Inserm, the Institut Pasteur, CNRS and the Université de Paris have now identified a protein that plays a crucial role in virus replication within its target cells. This research, published in Nature, could lead to the development of new therapies in the fight against chikungunya.
Read the research paper: FHL1 is a major host factor for chikungunya virus infection. Laurent Meertens, Mohamed Lamine Hafirassou, Therese Couderc, Lucie Bonnet-Madin, Vasiliya Kril, Beate M. Kümmerer, Athena Labeau, Alexis Brugier, Etienne Simon-Loriere, Julien Burlaud-Gaillard, Cécile Doyen, Laura Pezzi, Thibaud Goupil, Sophia Rafasse, Pierre-Olivier Vidalain, Anne Bertrand Legout, Lucie Gueneau, Raul Juntas-Morales, Rabah Ben Yaou, Gisèle Bonne, Xavier de Lamballerie, Monsef Benkirane, Philippe Roingeard, Constance Delaugerre, Marc Lecuit & Ali Amara. Nature 10.1038/s41586-019-1578-4.