Traditionally very little has been known about the biology of noroviruses because of the difficulty in culturing and manipulating these pathogens in the laboratory. Now the Southampton team, assisted by colleagues at the University of Otago and Washington University Medical School, has devised a system for manipulating the genome of the murine norovirus (MNV) which affects rodents. This breakthrough will lead to a greater understanding of how these pathogens work and, it is hoped, lead to ways of controlling them.
Human noroviruses, which are closely related to the murine norovirus, are responsible for extensive outbreaks of diarrhoea and vomiting in cruise ships, hotels, schools and hospitals. Up to a million cases of norovirus infection are estimated to occur annually in the UK.
'The human noroviruses have been exceedingly difficult to work with as there is no cell culture system to propagate these viruses, and as a result very little is known about their biology,' comments Professor Ian Clarke, who heads the Virus Group at Southampton.
'In the absence of a cell culture system, MNV is a surrogate for study of the human noroviruses. This study represents the culmination of a ten-year research quest in Southampton to obtain recovery of a live norovirus from its nucleic acid.'
The team in Southampton included Drs Vernon Ward, Christopher McCormick, Omar Salim and Paul Lambden and Professor Clarke. Together with Drs Larissa Thackray, Christiane Wobus and Skip Virgin at Washington University School of Medicine they devised a novel way of introducing a complete DNA copy of the MNV RNA genome into human cells grown in the laboratory. This allowed recovery for the first time of intact, functional viral particles from human tissue culture. They also used their system to mutate the virus so that they could identify a sequence that is essential for viral replication.
Their reverse infectious genetics system will be an essential tool for understanding the replication and molecular biology of this and human noroviruses and will help in the development of antivirals aimed at controlling infections.
The work, which was funded through a Wellcome Trust project grant, is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA) this week.
Sarah Watts | alfa
Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth
09.12.2016 | Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Plant-based substance boosts eyelash growth
09.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Polymerforschung IAP
Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.
Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...
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...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
09.12.2016 | Life Sciences
09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine