Navigation Links
NIH scientists identify novel approach to view inner workings of viruses
Date:1/12/2012

Since the discovery of the microscope, scientists have tried to visualize smaller and smaller structures to provide insights into the inner workings of human cells, bacteria and viruses. Now, researchers at the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), part of the National Institutes of Health, have developed a new way to see structures within viruses that were not clearly seen before. Their findings are reported in the Jan. 13 issue of Science.

Cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) is a technique that allows scientists to image very small particles, like structures on the surface of viruses. This method has been useful in helping researchers understand how vaccines work. But, despite the success of cryo-EM, scientists have been unable to clearly visualize structures inside of viruses, because radiation is used to image them. "With lower doses of radiation, it is not possible to see inside the organism," said lead author Dr. Alasdair Steven of the NIAMS Laboratory of Structural Biology Research. "However, higher doses of radiation damage the virus, destroying the very structures that we would like to view."

Working in collaboration with the group of Dr. Lindsay Black at the University of Maryland Medical School, Baltimore, Steven and his team were able to turn the problem of radiation damage into an asset. Viruses, one of the simplest life forms, are made up of nucleic acids (DNA or RNA) and the proteins encoded by the nucleic acid instruction manual. The researchers realized that proteins inside the virus are more sensitive to damage than DNA.

"We first used low doses of radiation and recorded images in which the inner structure of the virus was invisible," said Steven. "Next, we used high doses of radiation, and found that the inner structure could be seen as a cylinder of bubbles." While the inner structure was damaged, the team was able to superimpose the images, using three-dimensional computer reconstruction. As a result, they were able to clearly visualize the viral structure. The investigators call this technique bubblegram imaging.

Moving forward, the team members anticipate many uses of bubblegram imaging. Ideally, this technique will allow a better understanding of the inner workings of viruses, providing more opportunities for developing novel therapies. Beyond studying viral structure, cryo-EM could be used to visualize interactions of proteins with DNA in human cells. One exciting prospect lies in using this approach to visualize differences in cancer vs. non-cancer cells. "This new cryo-EM procedure renders previously invisible proteins visible and, thus, will provide new understanding of cell biology," said Steven.


'/>"/>
Contact: Trish Reynolds
reynoldsp2@mail.nih.gov
301-496-8190
NIH/National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Scientists Pinpoint Area of Brain That Fears Losing Money
2. Scientists Discover How HIV Is Transmitted Between Men
3. Prevention Is Key Research Goal for Premature Babies, Scientists Say
4. Scientists Discover Molecular Pathway for Organ Tissue Regeneration and Repair
5. Scientists find donut-shaped structure of enzyme involved in energy metabolism
6. Neuroscientists reveal new links that regulate brain electrical activity
7. Two UCSF Scientists to Receive Prestigious Dementia Research Honor
8. Johns Hopkins scientists develop personalized blood tests for cancer using whole genome sequencing
9. Scientists Spot Genetic Fingerprints of Individual Cancers
10. Scientists Unravel Mysteries of Intelligence
11. MSU scientists develop more effective method of predicting lead-poisoning risk
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Lori R. Somekh, founder of the Law Office of ... elder law and special needs planning attorneys. “Membership in ElderCounsel helps our office remain ... to network with elder law attorneys nationwide,” said Somekh. , ElderCounsel ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... 13, 2017 , ... Ellevate Network, the leading network for professional women, brought ... gender equality at their inaugural Summit in New York City in June. The event ... audience of over 3 million. To watch the Mobilize Women video, click here ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... ... Agile Software Development, has been awarded a contract by the Center for Medicare ... (BPA) aims to accelerate the enterprise use of Agile methodologies in a consistent ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... CitiDent and San Francisco dentists, ... cutting-edge Oventus O2Vent technology. As many as 18 million Americans are estimated to ... breathing. Oral appliances can offer significant relief to about 75 percent of people ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2017 , ... The American ... Excellence to Carol Friedman, PhD, FACMI, during the Opening Session of AMIA’s Annual Symposium ... 8. , In honor of Morris F. Collen, a pioneer in the field of ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)... 2017 AVACEN Medical , Inc. (AVACEN) announced ... 2017 New Product Innovation Award for Its fibromyalgia pain ... secondary medical device market research by Frost & Sullivan,s industry ... drug-free pain relief product, the AVACEN 100, offers a safe ... widespread pain. ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... , Oct. 11, 2017  Caris Life Sciences ... on fulfilling the promise of precision medicine, today announced ... joined Caris, Precision Oncology Alliance™ (POA) as its 17 ... centers, the St. Jude Crosson Cancer Institute will help ... the use of tumor profiling, making cancer treatment more ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... , Oct. 10, 2017   West Pharmaceutical Services, ... solutions for injectable drug administration, today shared the results ... Adapter for improving the intradermal administration of polio vaccines. ... Vaccination Summit in May 2017 by Dr. Ondrej ... Department, World Health Organization (WHO), and recently published in ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: