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Cancer Causing Virus Clings To DNA

11 months, 3 weeks ago

3749  0
Posted on Apr 27, 2018, 12 p.m.

Scientists have revealed how a cancer causing virus clings to DNA, which may open pathways to cure diseases by flushing out viruses including Epstein-Barr and HPV which permanently embed themselves into cells, as published in the jornal Cell, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

University of Virginia School of Medicine have provided vital understanding of infrastructure which can be used to work at disassembling to make the virus lose its hold in the body, bad new for the virus, great news for the patient.

Mitchell Smith, PhD, built the microscope allowing the team to see things on the order of 8,000 times smaller than a single strand of human hair, and the structure of the tether used by the virus called Kaposi’s sarcoma associated herpesvirus. Up until this point tethers have eluded scientists due to the minute size. The microscope is a masterpiece of lasers with a bunch of optics to focus and filter the laser, nothing like a simple light microscope. This may be a game changer, already allowing for the unveiling of a viral tether.


Fluorescent antibodies were used to mark individual molecules on the tether which were recorded to document their location and space. Then the team combined resulting images to create shape outline, which is somewhat like mapping a city using thousands of GPS signals. To complete this 3D portrait their results were combined with information drawn from prior imaging techniques which included X-ray crystallography. The end result is the most complete portrait of a virus tether ever created, the information it provides will prove vital for cutting the rope on virus grappling hooks, making them lose their hold in cells.


This approach is envisioned by the researchers to be used for many stubborn hard to rid viruses such as HPV and Epstein-Barr, as they suspect such viruses have tethers which share similarities with they one they revealed. The team now plan to focus on structure vital to viruses that were once below limits of standard methods of detection within infected cells.



Materials provided by University of Virginia Health System.

Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:

Margaret J. Grant, Matthew S. Loftus, Aiola P. Stoja, Dean H. Kedes, M. Mitchell Smith. Superresolution microscopy reveals structural mechanisms driving the nanoarchitecture of a viral chromatin tether. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2018; 201721638 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1721638115

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