The two Zika proteins smack a "gatekeeper" cell on the brain until it is disoriented. Autophagy usually digests and kills pathogens; however, when a family of viruses called flaviviruses (dengue, hepatitis C and Zika) infects a cell, autophagy helps the virus proliferate. Babies who have the devastating condition generally have abnormally small heads at birth.
Pestorius shared the discovery with media attending a Zika briefing arranged by the Georgia Department of Economic Development on Wednesday.
Local doctors are carrying out investigations to determine whether the birth defects are linked to the zika virus or cytomegalovirus infection during pregnancy.
"Zika loves and needs autophagy", senior corresponding author Jae Jung, professor of the University of Southern California, said in a statement.
'Years from now, one shot or a series of shots could target the proteins NS4A and NS4B or their collaborators'.
'This field moves so fast; however, no one has examined the viral proteins in Zika before, ' said Jung, holder of the Fletcher Jones Foundation chair in molecular microbiology and immunology.
At a press conference at the Pentagon last month, President Obama stressed said that money redirected from an ebola emergency fund earlier this year to fight Zika is almost depleted, according to CNBC. So there is nearly no doubt that Zika virus is responsible for their birth defects. "Zika raises the activity in this recycling factory so they can use the energy and nutrients there to replicate".
Vanessa van der Linden, MD, of the Association for Assistance of Disabled Children in Recife, Brazil, and colleagues studied brain and joint images of seven children with arthrogryposis in Brazil.
The cells are left with metabolic deficits. After the outbreak of microcephaly in Brazil associated with Zika virus, two reports suggested an association, but they did not describe the deformities in detail.
It means they do not have the chance to differentiate and mature into neurons and other brain cell types.
The findings were based on an examination of three strains of Zika in second trimester human fetal neural stem cells. As a result, brain development is stunted by up to 65 percent. "This study adds to the increasing evidence that Zika has a particularly severe impact on a developing fetus that extends beyond just microcephaly", he said.
Pregnant women suspected or confirmed with zika infection are monitored at a high-risk antenatal clinic, and these two cases of microcephaly were not among those being monitored.