22 May 2009
A*STAR Scientists Lead The Way in Deciphering the H1N1 Virus Structural Code
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Dr Sebastian Maurer-Stroh and his team of scientists from A*STAR's Bioinformatics Institute (BII) have become the first in the world to demonstrate how bioinformatics and computational biology can contribute towards managing the H1N1 influenza A. Different influenza A virus strains are categorized according to two proteins found on the surface of the virus: haemagglutinin (H) and neuraminidase (N). All influenza A viruses contain haemagglutinin and neuraminidase. The sequences of these proteins differ from strain to strain eg, swine flu belongs to the H1N1 type, avian flu to H5N1 and the currently dominant seasonal flu belongs to the H3N2 type virus.  They published their complex analysis, entitled, "Mapping the sequence mutations of the 2009 H1N1 influenza A virus neuraminidase relative to drug and antibody binding sites", in Biology Direct, a peer-reviewed journal on 20 May 2009.

Said Dr Frank Eisenhaber, Director of BII, "BII's H1N1 virus sequence study marks a significant milestone in the use of computational biology methods in understanding how the mutations of the fast evolving influenza virus affect immunogenic properties or drug response.  This information helps to develop a strategy for fighting the H1N1 virus and for organising an effective treatment for patients."

The interactive 3D-model with mutation updates is available at:

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