Scientists recorded cells of the virus “sizzling” as they looked for a way inside – ScienceAlert

Scientists recorded cells of the virus "sizzling" as they looked for a way inside - ScienceAlert
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For the first time, scientists have been able to record in three dimensions, in real time. virus by hijacking the cell, providing a deeper understanding of how infections take hold in the body.

The microscopic nature film is two and a half minutes long and a genetically sterile A virus thousands of times smaller than a grain of sand moves along the wall of human intestinal cells looking for an entry point.

how to understand viruses Getting into cells is critical to developing better defenses against them, but these particles are notoriously difficult to track — not least because they’re so much smaller than the cells they navigate.

“It’s like trying to photograph a person standing in front of a skyscraper” says chemist Courtney Johnson, from Duke University in North Carolina. “You can’t get the whole skyscraper with one picture and see the details of the person in front of you.”

Moreover, virus particles move faster outside the cell than inside it, making it even more difficult to find a fine-tuned imaging process to cope with different sizes and speeds.

The solution in this case is a system called 3D-TrIm or 3D Tracking and Imaging Microscopy. It’s basically two microscopes in one: the first “locks in” the fast-moving particle, and the second captures 3D images of the surrounding cells. It’s a bit like a sat nav app that tracks your car’s location in the middle of a wider landscape.

With a virus particle illuminated by a special fluorescent label, its position can be captured 1,000 times per second, allowing researchers to view its movements during a key period of the infection process in unprecedented detail.

In the Duke University video below, the virus’s winding path can be seen as a curved purple line.

frameborder=”0″ allow=”accelerometer; autoplay; write on the clipboard; encrypted media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture” allowed full screen>

“Sometimes when I present this work, people ask, is it a video game or a simulation?” Johnson says🇧🇷 “No, that’s something from a real microscope.”

We all breathe in millions of viruses every day, the vast majority of which are harmless – but scientists want to learn how certain viruses get through the protective layer of cells and the mucus that lines the airways and intestines. infection.

This new 3D-Trim method should help, although it has limitations: virus particles must be labeled before imaging so they can be seen, and the fluorescent dye on them must be made to last long enough to allow researchers to observe them. entire infection process.

a computer image of a yellow particle embedded in a cell membrane was created
The path of the virus moving along the surface of the cells (blue) before it is blocked (yellow). (Johnson et al., Nature’s methods2022)

However, the team behind 3D-Trim says the system has the potential to quickly improve and adapt to other types of medical diagnostics, whether it’s monitoring viruses or monitoring drug delivery.

“Importantly, the application of this technique can be extended to any system where rapid dynamics of nanoscale objects occurs at large volume scales, including delivery of nanoscale drug candidates to the lungs and through leaky tumor vasculature,” the researchers write. published article🇧🇷

The study was published Nature’s methods🇧🇷

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