Using a newly developed method, Utrecht University researchers have mapped the structure and composition of the hepatitis B virus. The researchers were able to map the structure by spraying the virus.
Their research brings us a step closer to understanding and combating hepatitis B infection. The method can also be used to analyse other viruses. The results of the search were recently published in two renowned scientific journals: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA and Angewandte Chemie International Edition England.
To better understand and deal with viral infections, it is essential to examine the virus carefully at molecular level. However, the virus is too large to do this using the standard methods. For that reason, especially for this project, Utrecht University researcher Charlotte Uetrecht developed a modified mass spectrometer that can spray the virus intact. She did this together with Prof. Albert Heck (Utrecht University) and researchers from America and Amsterdam.
Preventing viral infection
Using the modified mass spectrometer, the researchers looked at the structure and composition of the hepatitis B virus, a virus that causes severe liver ailments in humans. With the spectrometer, the researchers not only observed various forms of the virus, but they also saw the virus’ molecular structure. This makes it possible in the future to block the production of viruses, and in that way to combat viral infection. The technology developed can also be used to map and identify other viruses, such as viruses that can potentially be used in weaponised form by terrorists.
Mass spectrometry is a technology with which scientists can identify molecules. Among other things, this technology is used in dope testing and for identifying paint traces in forensic investigations. Mass spectrometry works particularly well with smaller molecules. Viruses however are a million times greater in mass. To be able to use mass spectrometry nevertheless, researchers spray the virus with water through a high-tension electric charge. This technique separates the viruses from the water, enabling researchers to examine them individually. This spraying process is comparable to the transmission of a cold virus by sneezing.
Peter van der Wilt | alfa
Nanoparticle Exposure Can Awaken Dormant Viruses in the Lungs
16.01.2017 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt
Cholera bacteria infect more effectively with a simple twist of shape
13.01.2017 | Princeton University
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...
Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.
The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
05.01.2017 | Event News
17.01.2017 | Earth Sciences
17.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
17.01.2017 | Architecture and Construction