Scientists admit they have no idea how the newly discovered virus infects the host cells after finding the strain while combing through swine faeces.
- The newly discovered virus has no spiky outer shell, as is usually not the case.
- strain attaches to host cells to reproduce
- Researchers in Japan have stated that we may be facing a "new virus evolution system"
Scientists have admitted that they have no idea how the newly discovered enterovirus infects other cells.
Typically, the virus replicates by attaching itself to a host
But researchers in Japan say the virus – found when combined with swine faeces – has no outer shell.
Experts from Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology are therefore amazed at how the virus is able to attack cells.
Professor Tetsuya Mizutani, who led the study, said, "We may be facing a whole new system of viral evolution."
] Usually, a virus replicates by attaching to a host cell with small spikes in its shell (pictured)
Viruses are simple, inanimate beings that are made of genetic material called RNA and DNA.
An effervescent coat called a capsid is made of protein and is available in various structures, depending on the virus.
Enteroviruses cause a number of diseases – from rashes in young children to colds, encephalitis and even diarrhea.
Pig farms are a dirty environment and home to many fast-growing viruses, making them ideal for research.
Other enteroviruses of the G (EV-G) family are found in pig faeces. But the newly discovered type is a "new defect" variant.
Type 2 EV-G may not be able to invade a host cell on its own, since it does not have the same structures as the other strains.
Viruses cannot replicate without first making a viral particle to invade a living host cell.
Professor Misutani and colleagues believe that the strain is assisted by a "helper virus", but at this stage it is impossible to know how,
He said: "The recombinant virus we found has no structural proteins. This means that the recombinant virus cannot make the viral particle.
"We wonder how this new virus came about, how it infects cells, or how it develops a viral particle."
Professor Misutani added: "Our future work will be to solve this mystery of the evolution of the virus. "
Similar amounts of type 1 and type 2 viral cells of EV-G have been detected in porcine feces and it is possible that the helper virus is type 1.
The conclusions were first published in the journal Infection, Genetics and Evolution, a publication published by Elsevier
HOW DOES VIRUSES WORK?
A viral particle or virion consists of three parts: a set of genetic instructions, or DNA or RNA; a coat of protein that surrounds DNA or RNA, for to protect it; a lipid membrane that surrounds the protein sheath.
Unlike human cells or bacteria, viruses do not contain a chemical machine called enzymes needed to carry out chemical reactions for division and propagation.
They carry only one or two enzymes that decode their genetic instructions and need a host cell, such as bacteria, plant or animal.
When a virus infects a living cell, it abducts and reprograms the cell to turn it into a virus production factory.
Protein virus interacts with specific target cell receptors.
The virus then inserts its genetic code into the target cell until the cell's own DNA is digested.
The target cell is then "abducted", it begins to use the virus's genetic code as a blueprint for the production of more viruses.
Eventually, the cell opens to release new, intact viruses, which then infect other cells and start the process again.
Once released from the host cell, new viruses can attack other cells.
Because a virus can replicate thousands of new viruses, viral infections can spread rapidly throughout the body.