Viral impostors: Breakthrough for virus research

Pseudoviruses resemble impostors: although harmless, they are designed in such a way that they can hardly be distinguished from their dangerous relatives. This makes them an invaluable tool in virus research. They can be used to precisely analyze infection pathways of dangerous virus variants.

A major challenge in this research area so far has been to make the pseudoviruses reliably visible under the microscope. This is because conventional labelling methods impair the activity of the “impostors” and thus falsify the imaging.

🌌 Science is not just a subject; it’s a way of life. Embrace your inner scientist with our “Science is Golden” tee. Elevate your fashion game while celebrating the beauty of discovery. Shop now!

A team from the Rudolf Virchow Center – Center for Integrative and Translational Bioimaging at Julius-Maximilians-Universität (JMU) Würzburg, led by Professor Markus Sauer and Dr. Gerti Beliu, has now developed a solution: By combining genetic code expansion and click chemistry, a unique recognition feature for pseudoviruses was created that leaves their activity unaffected. These findings have been now published in the journal ACS Nano.

New Horizons Open up in Virus Research

The novel “clickable” pseudoviruses are highly fluorescent. However, in terms of binding and penetration into cells, they have the same properties as their pathogenic relatives. Once inside the cells, however, they do not cause disease – this allows them to be handled under reduced biological risk levels in S1/2 standard laboratories.

Sign up for the Daily Dose Newsletter and get every morning’s best science news from around the web delivered straight to your inbox? It’s easy like Sunday morning.

Success! You're on the list.

Markus Sauer is enthusiastic: “This method opens up completely new horizons for us in virus research. It’s a leap forward in our ability to observe the complex dynamics of viral infections in living organisms using high-resolution microscopy methods.”

Innovation Meets Precision

Another advantage of the new method is its high detection efficiency. Compared to conventional immunostaining methods, the JMU team found a detection efficiency many times higher. This makes finer details and subtle processes of the infection process visible.

“The clickable pseudoviruses have the potential to revolutionise the way we study virus-cell interactions. It is as if we are using our microscopes to dive into a previously invisible world,” explains Gerti Beliu.

IMAGE CREDIT: Gerti Beliu / RVZ, created with DALL-E 3

If you enjoy the content we create and would like to support us, please consider becoming a patron on Patreon! By joining our community, you’ll gain access to exclusive perks such as early access to our latest content, behind-the-scenes updates, and the ability to submit questions and suggest topics for us to cover. Your support will enable us to continue creating high-quality content and reach a wider audience.

Join us on Patreon today and let’s work together to create more amazing content!

DAILY DOSE: World leaders talk climate change; March of the microscopic robots.
TALK TALK TALK. The international climate talks in Dubai highlighted the urgency …
50 States of Science: The New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science is the states gem for the curious.
NUTSHELL: The New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science is a …

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: