From: email@example.com (Robert J. Bradbury)
Date sent: Mon, 17 Jan 2000 11:41 EST
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> From: http://www.viropharma.com/Pipeline/Pleconaril.htm
> > Pleconaril is a member of a class of compounds that inhibit
> > capsid function of picornaviruses. The capsid is essential for a
> > virus to infect healthy cells. These compounds integrate into a
> > hydrophobic pocket within the virus and interrupt the replication cycle.
> This is a little vague, but it seems like it prevents the virus from
> opening up to release the RNA (not by interfering with receptor binding
> as I believe some drugs coming out of Australia are supposed to do).
> If this works, then minor variants in the drug design could produce
> molecules that work against all viruses that "decloak" via similar
> mechanisms and have substantively similar capsid structures. While
> as was pointed out, the capsid outer surfaces may vary, the interlocking
> faces of the capsid sub-components cannot (without disrupting the
> self-assembly or disassembly function). So if they have a "lock"
> that binds the faces together (my best impression from their pictures),
> then this would seem to be a generally good method for suppressing
> the replication of the virus.
> Science at its finest. This gets my vote for the sexiest breakthrough
> so far in the new millennium. Its up there with the trojan horse
> strategy against HIV that was announced last year.
This regular geometric solid shape interests me. There are only
five regular solids (discounting spheres). I do not think that, for
reasons of surface-to-volume ratio and the tendency of points and
edges to get hung up, hindering mobility, that tetrahedrons,
octahedrons and cubes are good candidate shapes. The
picornaviruses are icosahedral. I wonder if there are
dodecahedrally shaped viruses, and if so, to which diseases they
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