Sumary of Llama ‘nanobodies’ could hold key to preventing deadly post-transplant infection:
- This then enables immune cells to seek out and destroy this potentially deadly virus.
- For the majority of people, the virus remains dormant, hidden away inside white blood cells, where it can remain undisturbed and undetected for decades.
- However, for people who are immunocompromised — for example, transplant recipients who need to take immunosuppressant drugs to prevent organ rejection — HCMV reactivation can be devastating.
- Dr Timo De Groof from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the study’s joint first author, said: “As the name suggests, nanobodies are much smaller than regular antibodies, which make them perfectly suited for particular types of antigens and relatively easy to manufacture and adjust.
- ” In laboratory experiments using blood infected with the virus, the team showed that the nanobody binds to the US28 protein and interrupts the signals established through the protein that help keep the virus in its dormant state.
- Once this control is broken, the local immune cells are able to ‘see’ that the cell is infected, enabling the host’s immune cells to hunt down and kill the virus, purging the latent reservoir and clearing the blood of the virus.