Researchers around the world are understandably working in haste to come up with a treatment for the Ebola infection. To help with that goal, a team of scientists at Johns Hopkins University just unveiled a free online tool that helps to visualize Ebola gene mutations and how they affect the virus’s protein structure, as well as epitopes, binding sites on the surface of the proteins.
The tool is called MuPIT (Mutation Position Imaging Toolkit) and you can play around with it here. Using it, researchers should have a better idea of what mutations to expect and potentially create drugs and vaccines that target those mutations.
Some details about the tool and what led to its development according to a Johns Hopkins press release:
Karchin’s team designed its new digital display tool to connect with the new Ebola Genome Browser released recently by the University of California, Santa Cruz. The UCSC browser offers detailed genetic information about the virus. The Johns Hopkins add-on provides 3-D views of Ebola’s proteins, making it easier to interpret the functional implications of mutations and their relationship to Ebola virus evolution and its potential vulnerabilities.
The Karchin Lab’s MuPIT Ebola Edition software was devised in response to a request from UCSC Cruz bioinformatics researcher David Haussler, who was one of Karchin’s graduate faculty advisers.
This first edition of MuPIT Ebola provides visualization of user-specified mutations as well as mutations from 101 viral genome sequences, derived from blood samples taken from Ebola patients in West Africa. It includes functional annotations from the Universal Protein Resource database and epitope sequences from the Immune Epitope and Analysis Resource.
Link: MuPIT Ebola Edition…