The study has identified a potential new target for anti-inflammatory therapy

Recently, the research team of animal medicine immunology of the College of Veterinary Medicine of Sichuan Agricultural University has cooperated with a number of research institutions such as Erasmus University Medical Center in the Netherlands to publish research papers in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The study revealed how hepatitis E virus (HEV) infection manipulates the mechanism of inflammasome activation in macrophages. The results showed that HEV regulates the activation of NLRP3 inflammasome by altering the mature transporter RNA group (tRNAome) in macrophages.

HEV is a globally widespread zoonotic virus that causes hepatitis E after infection, mainly acute hepatitis. Hepatitis E is particularly dangerous for pregnant women and immunocompromised people (e.g., organ transplant patients, HIV-infected people). HEV infection in pregnant women can cause serious illness and increase the risk of fetal and neonatal death. Current research focuses on the host immune response and antiviral regulatory mechanism after HEV virus infection.

Photo courtesy of College of Veterinary Medicine, Sichuan Agricultural University

Ou Xumin, co-corresponding author of the paper and a young teacher from the Department of Animal Medicine Immunology (Institute) of Sichuan Agricultural University, introduced in an interview with China Science News that mature tRNAome is involved in decoding the genetic code in mRNA and plays an important role in protein synthesis. Studies have shown that dysregulation of tRNA expression, processing, and modification is associated with a variety of diseases, including cancer and diabetes. “Our team’s early research found that HEV infection reconstituted mature tRNAome in hepatocytes, and at the same time mediated the activation of inflammosomes and the secretion of interleukin 1β in infected macrophages.”

In this study, the team further demonstrated that mature tRNAome plays an important role in coordinating the activation of NLRP3 inflammasome in HEV-infected macrophages. “The study reveals dynamic changes in mature tRNAome in HEV-infected macrophages and responds to HEV-induced activation of inflammasomes. Studies have shown that tRNAome is able to regulate the inflammatory response mediated by viral infection. Moreover, tRNAome may play a pervasive role in pathogen-induced inflammatory responses and is a potential new target for anti-inflammatory therapy. (Source: Zhang Qingdan, China Science News)

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