A working group of virologists headed by Professor Hans-Georg Kräusslich at Heidelberg University Hospitals, jointly with Professor Hanswalter Zentgraf, Division of Applied Tumor Virology of the Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum (German Cancer Research Center, DKFZ), have been the first to label Human Immunodeficiency Viruses (HIV) for visual investigations without inhibiting the functional characteristics of the virus. The labeling permits scientists to observe the behavior of the virus when it enters a host cell, during replication and when it leaves a cell. This is a major step towards understanding the process of HIV infection.
Modern imaging technologies facilitate real-time observation of virus-cell interactions. Many of these investigation methods require labeling of the object of interest, such as by introducing the genetic code of green fluorescent protein (GFP) into its genetic information. There the marker protein will be produced by the cellular machinery and appended to the desired site.
To observe the interaction of HIV with the host cell, there had also been attempts to label the virus with GFP. However, the genetic modifications impaired the formation of virus particles or their infectiousness, thus limiting the value of results obtained. A team of Heidelberg researchers of the university hospitals’ Virology Section and the DKFZ have now found an area within the structure molecule of the viral capsid that tolerates the substantial extension by GFP. Although the insertion of the GFP molecule enlarges the HIV structure protein by about one half, infectious viruses continue to be generated. Using electron microscopy, Zentgraf’s team was able to show that appearance and shape of the virus particles thus created cannot be distinguished from normal HIV. By simultaneous production of GFP-extended and normal structure protein, PD Dr. Barbara Müller was able to produce, under a fluorescence microscope, clearly visible HIVs with several thousand GFP molecules that were as infectious as HIV without GFP. This is an essential step towards a better understanding of the dynamics of HIV infection.
Julia Rautenstrauch | alfa
Study shines light on brain cells that coordinate movement
26.06.2017 | University of Washington Health Sciences/UW Medicine
New insight into a central biological dogma on ion transport
26.06.2017 | Aarhus University
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
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13.06.2017 | Event News
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26.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
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