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Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2010 May;17(5):530-8. doi: 10.1038/nsmb.1779. Epub 2010 Apr 11.

Structures of influenza A proteins and insights into antiviral drug targets.

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Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine, Piscataway, New Jersey, USA.


The world is currently undergoing a pandemic caused by an H1N1 influenza A virus, the so-called 'swine flu'. The H5N1 ('bird flu') influenza A viruses, now circulating in Asia, Africa and Europe, are extremely virulent in humans, although they have not so far acquired the ability to transfer efficiently from human to human. These health concerns have spurred considerable interest in understanding the molecular biology of influenza A viruses. Recent structural studies of influenza A virus proteins (or fragments) help enhance our understanding of the molecular mechanisms of the viral proteins and the effects of drug resistance to improve drug design. The structures of domains of the influenza RNA-dependent RNA polymerase and the nonstructural NS1A protein provide opportunities for targeting these proteins to inhibit viral replication.

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