A group of chemistry researchers from Lund University in Sweden and from the University of Lyon in France lie behind the study.
On the borderline between chemistry and physics, scientists are finding new and exciting ways to understand how viruses function. Biochemist Alex Evilevitch from Lund University has long been interested in the more physical aspects of how viruses infect cells, both in humans and in bacteria (bacteria can in fact become infected by viruses).
In earlier research Alex Evilevitch has shown that viruses evince extremely high internal pressure, as high as the pressure at a depth of 500 meters (1640 feet) below sea level. Or, for that matter, pressure that is ten times more powerful than in an unopened bottle of champagne. This pressure functions as the virus's weapon when it attacks.
"The pressure enables the virus to insert its genes at high speed into the cell it is infecting," says Alex Evilevitch.
A virus consists of a thin protein coat that encapsulates its genes. When the virus has managed to infect a human cell, for example, the human's own genes are fooled into copying the genes of the virus, which helps the virus multiply inside the human body. The problem in finding medicines for virus infections is that viruses mutate at a rapid pace, that is, their genes are constantly changing, which makes it difficult to get a handle on them.
Alex Evilevitch and his colleagues are therefore seeking a solution by following another lead, with the help of physics. His research team is trying to find a way to regulate the pressure inside the coat of the virus. They want to lower the pressure in order to neutralize the virus. To be able to lower the pressure, they need to reduce the amount of energy inside the virus.
The three Swedish scientists Alex Evilevitch, Professor Bengt Jönsson, and doctoral candidate Meerim Jeembaeva, along with their colleague Martin Castelnovo in France, are the first researchers in world to succeed in measuring this amount of energy. They have used an instrument, a so-called calorimeter, that can measure the generation of heat at the very moment of infection, that is, when the virus sends off its genes with the help of its internal pressure.
The research team has also shown that the amount of energy in the virus is governed by the amount of water inside the coat of the virus. The scientists have therefore focused on developing methods for controlling the amount of energy in the virus by controlling the amount of water it contains. The research findings are now being published in Journal of Molecular Biology.
Alex Evilevitch says that there is great interest in this research field among clinical and molecular virologists, that is, virus researchers working in medical science.
Alex Evilevitch is a senior lecturer in biochemistry at the Center for Molecular Protein Science at the Department of Chemistry, Lund University. He is currently also employed by Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
For more information, please contact: email@example.com, mobile: +1(412) 482 2301
Pressofficer Lena Björk Blixt: Lena.Bjork_Blixt@kanslin.lu.se;+46-46 222 7186
Lena Björk Blixt | idw
A Map of the Cell’s Power Station
18.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
On the way to developing a new active ingredient against chronic infections
21.08.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für Infektionsforschung
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
21.08.2017 | Materials Sciences
21.08.2017 | Health and Medicine
21.08.2017 | Materials Sciences