To avoid going extinct a population must not only survive, but also reproduce. Paul Turner, associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Yale, tested the practicality of luring a virus population into the wrong cells within the human body, thus preventing virus reproduction and alleviating disease.
"Ecological traps for viruses might arise naturally, or could be engineered by adding viral binding sites to cells that disallow virus reproduction," said senior author Turner. "We proved the concept using a non-human virus, and variants of the bacteria cells it infects."In ecology, a habitat that supports population growth is termed a "source," whereas a non-supportive habitat is a "sink." This study reported on the success of phi-6 virus populations in environments containing different mixtures of ordinary "source" bacteria and mutant trap cells that act as "sinks."
"This approach has intriguing potential for new treatments against human viruses," said Turner. "A similar idea already exists in agriculture, where farmers use non-harvested 'trap crops' to lure insect pests. Because the pests prefer the taste of the trap crops, only these plants need to be sprayed, reducing the amount of pesticide use."
Turner believes that similar trickery might be used against human viruses like HIV. He notes that HIV recognizes the T-cells it infects by CD4 molecules on the cell surface, but it then requires functions of the cell nucleus to reproduce. Current anti-HIV therapies are designed to maintain high T-cell counts in the human body, so that the immune system can properly function. But, these drugs therapies are very expensive.
Turner suggests, "A cheaper option is the possibility of engineering trap cells that have CD4 molecules on their surface, but no nucleus for virus reproduction. Mature red blood cells could fill the bill, because they lack a nucleus and could be engineered as sink habitats that greatly outnumber the T-cell source habitats in the body."
Janet Rettig Emanuel | EurekAlert!
Successful calculation of human and natural influence on cloud formation
04.11.2016 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main
Invasive Insects Cost the World Billions Per Year
04.10.2016 | University of Adelaide
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
08.12.2016 | Life Sciences
08.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
08.12.2016 | Materials Sciences