Most people acquire human herpesvirus 6, or HHV-6 for short, in early childhood.
It is a distant relative of the herpes simplex virus known for causing blisters, but HHV-6 has entirely different effects: The infection can lead to a disease called three-day fever in infants and young children.
After infection has been vanquished, effector cells can turn into memory cells, which remain ready to quickly step into action as soon as infection emerges again. PLOS Pathogens, DOI: 10.1371/1006991 As German Research Center for Environmental Health, Helmholtz Zentrum München pursues the goal of developing personalized medical approaches for the prevention and therapy of major common diseases such as diabetes mellitus and lung diseases.
To achieve this, it investigates the interaction of genetics, environmental factors and lifestyle.
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The peptides are produced when viral proteins are broken down inside an infected cell.
These cells are capable of destroying infected cells, thus preventing the virus from multiplying in the body.Led by first author Larissa Martin and doctoral student Alexandra Hollaus, the researchers discovered 16 structures of the virus that HHV-6-specific killer cells can bind and attack.To this end, the scientists first scanned the pathogen with the help of an algorithm that identified nearly 300 potential attack sites**.One thing is certain: patients with severely weakened immune systems, for example post-transplantation patients, have difficulty keeping the virus under control, which in some cases can result in serious damage to multiple organs.To counter this risk, scientists at Helmholtz Zentrum München are investigating how the immune system keeps the virus in check.