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Infectious disease

Influenza virus

Sphingomyelin synthase 1 (SGMS1)

Cell studies suggest inhibiting the sphingomyelin biosynthetic pathway could help treat influenza infection. SMGMS1-deficient human cells infected with influenza virus produced half the amount of viral particles compared with wild-type cells. In a mammalian cell line, inhibiting sphingomyelin biosynthesis with the serine palmitoyltransferase inhibitor myriocin decreased virus production and cell surface display of virus glycoproteins compared with no treatment. Next steps include targeting the sphingomyelin biosynthetic pathway in mouse models for influenza virus infection.
Myriocin is a research reagent.

SciBX 6(15); doi:10.1038/scibx.2013.366
Published online April 18, 2013

Patent and licensing status undisclosed

Tafesse, F.G. et al. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA; published online April 1, 2013;
Contact: Hidde L. Ploegh, Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass.