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Penn researchers shine the light of venus to learn how the herpes virus invades cells
Date:12/13/2007

it long enough to take a snapshot.

Knowing that virus-cell fusion starts when gD binds to a cell receptor, these researchers monitored the remaining protein interactions using bimolecular complementation, a newly developed process that employs, in this case, a protein called Venus. Venus, like the planet, shines brightly against a dark background. Researchers split the yellow Venus protein in two, creating tags which were stitched to either gB or gH, the proteins they believed played a role in fusion. When Venus is split in half, it no longer glows yellow. But when half-Venus-gB and half-Venus-gH combine, even very briefly as they do, the two halves of Venus interact and shine again.

The team used microscopy to look for the viral protein-protein interactions during fusion and thus found that fusion requires proteins gB, gH and gL, called the core fusion machinery of all herpes viruses.

This is a complex mechanism were looking at, Gary Cohen, professor of microbiology in Penns School of Dental Medicine, said. We still have a long way to go but this is a major step forward for us and the field, and now we have a new toy to play with to help us with a whole new set of questions. That is the fun of science: there is always another question.


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Contact: Jordan Reese
jreese@upenn.edu
215-573-6604
University of Pennsylvania
Source:Eurekalert

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