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The influenza virus, also known as "the flu", is an infectious disease that has constantly affected the health of humanity. There is currently no known cure for Influenza. The Center for Innovations in Medicine at the Biodesign Institute located on campus at Arizona State University has been developing synbodies as a possible Influenza therapeutic. Specifically, at CIM, we have attempted to design these initial synbodies to target the entire Influenza virus and preliminary data leads us to believe that these synbodies target Nucleoprotein (NP). Given that the synbody targets NP, the penetration of cells via synbody should also occur. Then by Western Blot analysis we evaluated for the diminution of NP level in treated cells versus untreated cells. The focus of my honors thesis is to explore how synthetic antibodies can potentially inhibit replication of the Influenza (H1N1) A/Puerto Rico/8/34 strain so that a therapeutic can be developed. A high affinity synbody for Influenza can be utilized to test for inhibition of Influenza as shown by preliminary data. The 5-5-3819 synthetic antibody's internalization in live cells was visualized with Madin-Darby Kidney Cells under a Confocal Microscope. Then by Western Blot analysis we evaluated for the diminution of NP level in treated cells versus untreated cells. Expression of NP over 8 hours time was analyzed via Western Blot Analysis, which showed NP accumulation was retarded in synbody treated cells. The data obtained from my honors thesis and preliminary data provided suggest that the synthetic antibody penetrates live cells and targets NP. The results of my thesis presents valuable information that can be utilized by other researchers so that future experiments can be performed, eventually leading to the creation of a more effective therapeutic for influenza.
The influenza virus is the main cause of thousands of deaths each year in the United States, and far more hospitalizations. Immunization has helped in protecting people from this virus and there are a number of therapeutics which have proven effective in aiding people infected with the virus. However, these therapeutics are subject to various limitations including increased resistance, limited supply, and significant side effects. A new therapeutic is needed which addresses these problems and protects people from the influenza virus. Synbodies, synthetic antibodies, may provide a means to achieve this goal. Our group has produced a synbody, the 5-5 synbody, which has been shown to bind to and inhibit the influenza virus. The direct pull down and western blot techniques were utilized to investigate how the synbody bound to the influenza virus. Our research showed that the 5-5 synbody bound to the influenza nucleoprotein (NP) with a KD of 102.9 ± 74.48 nM. It also showed that the synbody bound strongly to influenza viral extract from two different strains of the virus, the Puerto Rico (H1N1) and Sydney (H3N2) strains. This research demonstrated that the 5-5 synbody binds with high affinity to NP, which is important because influenza NP is highly conserved between various strains of the virus and plays an important role in the replication of the viral genome. It also demonstrated that this binding is conserved between various strains of the virus, indicating that the 5-5 synbody potentially could bind many different influenza strains. This synbody may have potential as a therapeutic in the future if it is able to demonstrate similar binding in vivo.