Press Releases

25.05.2016 Structural Basis for Norovirus Inhibition by Human Milk Oligosaccharides

Human milk oligosaccharides are a major component of mothers milk,
they support the health of babies and children and protect them 
from infectious deseases.

Researchers from Heidelberg University, the German Cancer Research Cen-
ter (DKFZ) and the Jennewein Biotechnologie GmbH showed in a X-ray crys-
tallographic study, that the two human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs), 2-
fucosyllactose and 3-fucosyllactose could block norovirus like partic-
les from binding to surrogate Histo-blood group antigen (HBGA) samples.
HBGAs are expressed on epithelial cells and are known to interact with
noroviruses to promote infection by the virus. The study shows that the-
se HMOs mimic the HBGAs and act as natural-occuring decoys in human 
thus preventing from norovirus infection.

Currently there is no treatment or vaccine for the human norovirus in-
fections available; therefore, it is important to indicate, that 2-fuco-
syllactose could function as norovirus antiviral by blocking the HBGA
binding site and could benefit the human health.