Home Sciences They discover in the mushroom an unexpected drug against hepatitis C

They discover in the mushroom an unexpected drug against hepatitis C


A team of CSIC researchers has co-discovered that an enzyme present in the white button mushroom (Agaricus bisporus), called tyrosinase, has antiviral activity against the hepatitis C virus by an inhibition mechanism different from that of the usual drugs. This finding, made in vitro and published in the journal Pharmaceuticals could contribute to the development of promising therapeutic agents.

“In this case, the inhibition of virus proteases occurs through a biocatalytic mechanism based on selective hydroxylation of surface tyrosines of proteins involved in virus replication,” explains José Miguel Palomo, a CSIC researcher at the Institute of Catalysis and Petrochemicals (ICP-CSIC), which has co-directed the study in collaboration with researchers Olga Abián and Adrián Velázquez from the University of Saragossa.

By testing this method in vitro, researchers have shown that mushroom tyrosinase, and particularly one isoform (a variant of the enzyme itself), they are efficient in micromolar concentrations, that is, one millionth of the mass of the molecules.

These enzymes completely inhibit the replication of the hepatitis C virus in human liver cells. In fact, highlights the researcher, the isoform It has an antiviral capacity up to ten times higher than that of the commercial drug Ribavirin.currently used in combination in many treatments.

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In addition, the results obtained in this study have shown that the enzymes extracted directly from the mushroom no liver cell toxicityso they could be used as proteins for the treatment of hepatitis C infection. Therefore, this tyrosinase preparation could become a promising therapeutic agent.

very low cost

“We could provide a very low cost drug for the treatment of the viruswhich could be used as a substitute or in combination with other drugs,” says Palomo.

The researcher insists on the great reduction in costs that the manufacture of a drug from mushroom tyrosinases would entail, since current treatments cost around €60,000 per patient.

The research group seeks to continue advancing and develop “in vivo” tests of this type of compound to demonstrate its potential as a drug. To do this, they say, they are open to collaboration with other interested research groups, as well as with private companies.

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The research, already patented, continues with the aim of obtaining a drug against Hepatitis C, which in 2019 killed nearly 290,000 people, according to data from the World Health Organization (WHO). In addition, the research group points out that this new mechanism of viral inhibition of mushroom tyrosinase is postulated as a broad-spectrum pharmacological agent.

Popularly, it is known that the mushroom, Thanks to their selenium content, they help fight free radicals. They help cardiovascular health by being rich in potassium and sodium, and also control blood pressure and strengthen the heart.

They prevent intestinal ailments and have a satiating effect, which is why they favor weight control. They therefore prevent obesity and have an antihyperlipidemic effect. The mushroom reduces both the plasma concentration of triglycerides in the blood and the glucose level in hypercholesterolemic diets. In addition, the Pleurotus genus can prevent weight gain and hyperlipidemia.

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