Researchers have discovered the mechanism behind one of the Ebola virus’ most dangerous attributes: its ability to disarm the adaptive immune system. UTMB scientists determined that Ebola short-circuits the immune system using proteins that work together to shut down cellular signaling related to interferon. Disruption of this activity, the researchers found, allows Ebola to prevent the full development of dendritic cells that would otherwise trigger an immune response to the virus. “Dendritic cells typically undergo a process called ‘maturation’ when they’re infected by a virus — they change shape and present antigens on their surface that tell T-cells to attack that particular virus, thus generating an adaptive immune response,” said UTMB professor Alexander Bukreyev, senior author of a paper on the discovery now online in the Journal of Virology. The news also appears in Science World Report, Galveston County Daily News, MedIndia, Medical Xpress, the Bay Area Citizen and Health Canal.