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:11/16/2015)... 16, 2015  Synaptics Inc. (NASDAQ: SYNA ... today announced expansion of its TDDI product portfolio ... controller and display driver integration (TDDI) solutions designed ... new TDDI products add to the previously-announced ... (WQHD resolution), and TD4322 (FHD resolution) solutions. All ...
(Date:11/12/2015)... CAMBRIDGE, Mass. , Nov. 12, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard for use ... chemical discovery information management tools. The partnership will ... share both biological and chemical research information internally ... tools will be used for managing the Institute,s ...
(Date:11/11/2015)... 11, 2015   MedNet Solutions , an innovative SaaS-based ... research, is pleased to announce that it will be a ... event, to be held November 17-19 in ... live demonstrations of iMedNet , MedNet,s easy-to-use, ... iMedNet has been able to deliver time and cost ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... join physicians, aesthetic practitioners and aesthetics professionals from Central America and abroad for ... held in Panama City, Panama Feb. 17-19, 2016. Testart will present and discuss ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... 30, 2015 , ... Global Stem Cells Group ... the Santiago Marriott. The Global Stem Cells Group GMP facility is equipped with ... qualified medical researchers and practitioners, experienced in administering stem cell protocols using highly ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... radiology technique shows promise for helping morbidly obese patients lose ... presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society ... --> --> Gastric artery embolization ... way to stop bleeding in emergency situations, but the idea ... is new. Mubin Syed , M.D., interventional radiologist ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... 2015 Partnership includes an MPP ... for the u niversity , s ... treatment s cale - up through ... Africa , where licensees based anywhere in the world will have ... --> Africa , where licensees based anywhere in the world ...
Breaking Biology Technology: