The team used dengue virus as an example and they identified a novel drug which may someday be used to combat the disease.Over the past several years, the researchers led by biologist Roland Wolkowicz have been developing cell-based platforms that can be used to monitor the biomolecular activity of viruses inside their host cells.

Based on a platform previously created for HIV, Wolkowicz and his team built a new platform for dengue virus.The Wolkowicz team's platform screens host cells to detect whether or not a particular protein function of dengue, known as pre-membrane protein (prM) cleavage, has occurred.The prM cleavage process is important for new viral particles to be able to infect a host cell.Preventing the cleavage from happening could effectively stop the virus in its tracks.

"Cleavage is absolutely critical to the virus's life cycle. While the role of prM cleavage is not completely understood, new particles won't mature without it. By blocking prM cleavage, you clearly diminish the virus's ability to infect other cells," explained Wolkowicz.

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