Scientists in Grenoble, France, have found the structure of a germ-susceptible protein that can help viruses replicate while avoiding a human immune reaction.

The class of viruses that scientists are studying is known to cause rabies, Ebola and measles. Unlike most living organisms, these viruses carry their genetic information on a single molecule of RNA instead of a double strand of DNA.

At the Institute of Molecular and Structural Virology and the Outstation of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Grenoble, researchers have achieved a structural representation of a protein that allows the rabies virus to live with the human immune response, not only surviving but replicating in the cells.

A study published in this week’s online edition of Science looks at potential drug targets and suggests how similar approaches can help fight other viral illnesses.

Staphylococcal protein A, Z Domain