Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Firefly light illuminates course of herpes infection in mice

05.11.2002


Researchers are using a herpes virus that produces a firefly enzyme to illuminate the virus’s course of infection in mice and to help monitor the infection’s response to therapy. The work is published by scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis in the December issue of the Journal of Virology.



"This study demonstrates the feasibility of monitoring microbial infections in living animals in real time," says study leader David A. Leib, Ph.D., associate professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences and of molecular microbiology. "The technique enables us to follow an infection over time as it progresses and resolves, and we can do this repeatedly using the same animal."

This technology may solve several problems in studying herpes infections and the genes that control them. To investigate the progress of an infection over a course of days, for example, researchers normally must sacrifice infected mice each day and analyze their tissues to determine the level of virus present. The process is further complicated by the fact that individual mice respond differently to infection.


"One must make a leap of faith that a mouse sacrificed on day three of an infection is responding to the virus in the same way as a mouse sacrificed on day two of the infection," says Leib.

This new technology, an imaging method known as in vivo bioluminescence, enables investigators to track changes in the viral population in the same animal day after day. The device is located in the Molecular Imaging Center at the University’s Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology.

"This technology can be used to explore questions about this virus that are possible only by studying entire living animals over time," says Gary D. Luker, M.D., an assistant professor of radiology with the Molecular Imaging Center and first author of the paper.

"This is an excellent example of the unique information and new collaborations that are generated when we examine fundamental biological processes with molecular imaging tools," says David Piwnica-Worms, M.D., Ph.D., professor of radiology and of molecular biology and pharmacology and director of the Molecular Imaging Center.

The investigators first added a gene for luciferase, an enzyme produced by fireflies, to a strain of herpes simplex type 1 virus. After determining that the modified virus behaves in cells like the normal virus, they injected the modified virus into several locations in mice, including the brain and abdominal cavity.

Daily for nine days, the mice were injected with luciferin, a compound also produced by fireflies that emits light when exposed to luciferase. They then were anesthetized, placed in a light-free box and photographed using a charged-coupled device, or CCD camera. The camera captures light emitted through the tissues of the mouse by the actively replicating virus. The image produced by the camera shows the location and amount of virus in a mouse as areas of color, ranging from blue (low levels) to red (high levels), superimposed on a photograph of the anesthetized animal. Light produced by the luciferase-luciferin reaction is known as bioluminescence because it is generated by biological chemicals.

This imaging method enabled the investigators to monitor the infection as it spread and receded over nine days. In a second experiment, mice infected with the modified virus were treated with the antiviral drug valacyclovir. The investigators found that decreases in bioluminescence correlated with the decline in the amount of virus present.

The method works in part because bioluminescence produced by fireflies contains a significant amount of red light, which penetrates tissues more effectively than other wavelengths of light. This effect can be seen by shining a flashlight through a finger; it is red light that penetrates the finger.

The investigators next will use the imaging technique to study the course of herpes infection in mice lacking certain elements of the immune system to determine how different elements of the immune system influence the course of an infection.


Luker GD, Bardill JP, Prior JL, Pica CM, Piwnica-Worms D, Leib DA. Noninvasive bioluminescence imaging of Herpes simplex virus type 1 infection and therapy in living mice. Journal of Virology, 76(23), 12149-12161, Dec. 2002.

Funding from the National Institutes of Health, Research to Prevent Blindness and a Robert E. McCormick Scholarship supported this research.

Darrell E. Ward | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://medinfo.wustl.edu/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht The genes are not to blame
20.07.2018 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Targeting headaches and tumors with nano-submarines
20.07.2018 | Universitätsmedizin der Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers

A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.

The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A smart safe rechargeable zinc ion battery based on sol-gel transition electrolytes

20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Reversing cause and effect is no trouble for quantum computers

20.07.2018 | Information Technology

Princeton-UPenn research team finds physics treasure hidden in a wallpaper pattern

20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>