Employing different approaches to answer different questions, UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center research teams, led by Tariq Rana, PhD, and Jeremy Rich, MD, identified the same molecule — αvβ5 integrin — using brain organoids, tumor organoids and mouse models.
Zika virus infection can stunt neonatal brain development, a condition known as microcephaly, in which babies are born with abnormally small heads. To determine how best to prevent and treat the viral infection, scientists first need to understand how the pathogen gets inside brain cells.
In a pair of papers published January 16, 2020 by Cell Press, the researchers also found ways to take advantage of the integrin to both block Zika virus from infecting cells and turn it into something good: a way to shrink brain cancer stem cells.
Read more in press release.