Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Tracking viral DNA in the Cell

17.10.2013
Cell biologists and chemists from the University of Zurich reveal how viral DNA traffics in human cells.

They have developed a new method to generate virus particles containing labeled viral DNA genomes. This allowed them to visualize, for the first time, single viral genomes in the cytoplasm and the nucleus by using fluorescence microscopy in regular or superresolution mode. The new findings enhance our understanding of how viral disease occurs, and how cells respond to infections.

The medical, humanitarian and economical impact of viral diseases is devastating to humans and livestock. There are no adequate therapies available against most viral diseases, largely because the mechanisms by which viruses infect cells are poorly known. An interdisciplinary team of researchers from the University of Zurich headed by cell biologist Prof. Urs Greber now presents a method that can be used to display viral DNA in host cells at single-molecule resolution. The method gives unexpected insights into the distribution of viral DNA in cells, and the reaction of cells to viral DNA.

Click chemistry detects viral DNA
For their studies, Greber and his team with PhD students I-Hsuan Wang, Vardan Andriasyan and senior research scientist Dr. Maarit Suomalainen used cell cultures and human adenoviruses causing respiratory disease and conjunctivitis, herpes viruses and vaccinia virus, the latter in collaboration with Dr. Jason Mercer and his PhD student Samuel Kilcher from the ETH Zurich. To label the DNA of an intact virus, the scientists turned to click chemistry – widely applicable chemical reaction types. Prof. Nathan Luedtke from the Institute of Organic Chemistry at the University of Zurich, and PhD student Anne Neef developed a new class of “clickable” chemical molecules. “Our molecule is incorporated into viral DNA without affecting the biological functions of the DNA, and it can be used to label the DNA for fluorescence microscopy,” says Luedtke.
Defense response of infected cells visible for the first time
Greber and his team infected human cells in culture with the chemically labeled viruses, and observed the behavior of the viral DNA during entry into cells. “Using this elegant method, we can reveal that not all the incoming viral DNA enters the cell nucleus as originally expected, but a significant fraction remains in the cytosol, the fluids of the cytoplasm,” explains Greber. According to the scientists, this phenomenon may be part of the antiviral defense reaction. “For the first time, we can display the localization of incoming viral DNA, and link it to anti-viral defense or infection mechanisms,” says Greber. The researchers show that cells of the same type take up different amounts of viral DNA into their nucleus. Greber suspects that the nucleus has antiviral defense reactions, akin to the cytosol, and these defense reactions are variable between cells. With the new method in hand, this is now subject to future studies. The scientists suggest that their procedure can be applied to other DNA viruses, or the HI virus (HIV).
Literature:
I-Hsuan Wang, Maarit Suomalainen, Vardan Andriasyan, Samuel Kilcher, Jason Mercer, Anne Neef, Nathan W. Luedtke & Urs F. Greber. Tracking viral genomes in host cells at single molecule resolution. Cell Host Microbe, October 16, 2013. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chom.2013.09.004
Contacts:
Prof. Dr. Urs Greber
Institute of Molecular Life Sciences
University of Zurich
Tel. +41 44 635 48 41
E-Mail: urs.greber@imls.uzh.ch

Nathalie Huber | Universität Zürich
Further information:
http://www.mediadesk.uzh.ch

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Velcro for human cells
16.01.2019 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht More efficient solar cells imitate photosynthesis
16.01.2019 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Flying Optical Cats for Quantum Communication

Dead and alive at the same time? Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics have implemented Erwin Schrödinger’s paradoxical gedanken experiment employing an entangled atom-light state.

In 1935 Erwin Schrödinger formulated a thought experiment designed to capture the paradoxical nature of quantum physics. The crucial element of this gedanken...

Im Focus: Nanocellulose for novel implants: Ears from the 3D-printer

Cellulose obtained from wood has amazing material properties. Empa researchers are now equipping the biodegradable material with additional functionalities to produce implants for cartilage diseases using 3D printing.

It all starts with an ear. Empa researcher Michael Hausmann removes the object shaped like a human ear from the 3D printer and explains:

Im Focus: Elucidating the Atomic Mechanism of Superlubricity

The phenomenon of so-called superlubricity is known, but so far the explanation at the atomic level has been missing: for example, how does extremely low friction occur in bearings? Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institutes IWM and IWS jointly deciphered a universal mechanism of superlubricity for certain diamond-like carbon layers in combination with organic lubricants. Based on this knowledge, it is now possible to formulate design rules for supra lubricating layer-lubricant combinations. The results are presented in an article in Nature Communications, volume 10.

One of the most important prerequisites for sustainable and environmentally friendly mobility is minimizing friction. Research and industry have been dedicated...

Im Focus: Mission completed – EU partners successfully test new technologies for space robots in Morocco

Just in time for Christmas, a Mars-analogue mission in Morocco, coordinated by the Robotics Innovation Center of the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) as part of the SRC project FACILITATORS, has been successfully completed. SRC, the Strategic Research Cluster on Space Robotics Technologies, is a program of the European Union to support research and development in space technologies. From mid-November to mid-December 2018, a team of more than 30 scientists from 11 countries tested technologies for future exploration of Mars and Moon in the desert of the Maghreb state.

Close to the border with Algeria, the Erfoud region in Morocco – known to tourists for its impressive sand dunes – offered ideal conditions for the four-week...

Im Focus: Programming light on a chip

Research opens doors in photonic quantum information processing, optical signal processing and microwave photonics

Researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have developed a new integrated photonics platform that can...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Our digital society in 2040

16.01.2019 | Event News

11th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Aachen, 3-4 April 2019

14.01.2019 | Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Velcro for human cells

16.01.2019 | Life Sciences

Kiel physicists discover new effect in the interaction of plasmas with solids

16.01.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

The pace at which the world’s permafrost soils are warming

16.01.2019 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>