Navigation Links
Computer modeling technique goes viral at Brandeis

It's not a hacker lab. At Brandeis University, sophisticated computational models and advances in graphical processing units are helping scientists understand the complex interplay between genomic data, virus structure and the formation of the virus' outer "shell" critical for replication.

"We hope that some of what we are finding will help researchers alter virus assembly, leaving viruses unable to replicate," says post-doctoral fellow Jason Perlmutter, first author of the scientific paper describing the technique, published in the open access journal eLife.

Scientists know that many viruses are able to hijack the genetic machinery of host cells to produce copies of themselves and spread infection from cell to cell. For many virus families, a key part of this process is the formation of a protein "shell," called a capsid, around the viral genome during the assembly process.

The physics of this assembly process, which involves interactions between the negatively charged nucleic acid genome and the positively charged capsid protein, depends on a number of factors related to the structure of the virus genome.

"Changing all these critical genomic parameters in a live virus and looking at how capsid formation behaves is impossible given the speed of the process and our current imaging techniques," says associate professor of physics Michael Hagan, whose lab conducted the study.

That's why the team's modeling approach the most realistic developed to date is so important to scientists who are interested in how the virus capsid protein assembles around its genome in the cell. The Brandeis team used their modeling tool to calculate the optimal genome for a number of specific capsids which vary in size, shape and surface properties.

"If you take the model and apply it to biological viruses, we are able to predict within a narrow range key structural features of the virus genome and, by extension, how these parameters control whether the capsid assembles or misassembles and what misassembly looks like," says Perlmutter.

"Our tool should help scientists better understand the relationship between viral structure and packaging, making it easier to develop antiviral agents as well as aid the redesign of viruses for use in gene therapy and drug delivery."


Contact: Ellen de Graffenreid
Brandeis University

Related biology news :

1. Computer simulations help explain why HIV cure remains elusive
2. Patel recognized with NSF Career Award for computer-modeling research on cell membranes
3. Computer scientists develop an interactive field guide app for birders
4. Computer model pinpoints prime materials for efficient carbon capture
5. 2 NASA visualizations selected for computers graphics showcase
6. RIKEN and Fujitsu complete operational testing of the K computer
7. 3-D motion of cold virus offers hope for improved drugs using Australias fastest supercomputer
8. Computers can predict effects of HIV policies
9. Eco-computer with a natural wood look
10. Molecular economics: New computer models calculate systems-wide costs of gene expression
11. NPointer from Neurotechnology Uses Hand Gestures to Control and Navigate Computer Programs Without a Mouse or Touchpad
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/17/2015)... PARIS , November 17, 2015 ... 17 au 19 novembre  2015.  --> Paris ... 2015.  --> DERMALOG, le leader de l,innovation ... à la fois passeports et empreintes sur la même ... pour les passeports et l,autre pour les empreintes digitales. ...
(Date:11/12/2015)... 12, 2015  A golden retriever that stayed healthy ... (DMD) has provided a new lead for treating this ... Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and the University ... Cell, pinpoints a protective gene ... disease,s effects. The Boston Children,s lab of Lou ...
(Date:11/10/2015)... 10, 2015  In this report, the ... of product, type, application, disease indication, and ... report are consumables, services, software. The type ... biomarkers, efficacy biomarkers, and validation biomarkers. The ... diagnostics development, drug discovery and development, personalized ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... year and one of the premier annual events for pharmaceutical manufacturing: 2015 Annual ... November 2015, where ISPE hosted the largest number of attendees in more than ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015  Clintrax Global, Inc., a worldwide ... Carolina , today announced that the company has set a ... a 391% quarter on quarter growth posted for Q3 of 2014 ... and Mexico , with the establishment of ... December 2015. --> United Kingdom and ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , ... November 24, 2015 , ... This fall, global ... competitive events in five states to develop and pitch their BIG ideas to improve ... each state are competing for votes to win the title of SAP's Teen Innovator, ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... November 24, 2015 SHPG ) announced today ... the Piper Jaffray 27 th Annual Healthcare Conference in ... 2015, at 8:30 a.m. EST (1:30 p.m. GMT). --> ... Officer, will participate in the Piper Jaffray 27 th Annual ... on Tuesday, December 1, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. EST (1:30 p.m. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: