Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Crystallography
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

New Electron Microscopy Images Reveal the Assembly of HIV

Published: Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Last Updated: Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Bookmark and Share
EMBL researchers provide the as yet closest look at the structure of immature HIV.

Scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and the University Clinic Heidelberg, Germany, have produced a three-dimensional reconstruction of HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus), which shows the structure of the immature form of the virus at unprecedented detail. Immature HIV is a precursor of the infectious virus, which can cause AIDS.

The study, published in the 22-26 June online edition of PNAS, describes how the protein coat that packages the virus' genetic material assembles in human cells. Drugs that block this assembly process and prevent the virus from maturing into its infectious form are considered a promising therapeutic approach.

HIV consists of an RNA molecule that carries the genetic information of the virus and is surrounded by protective protein and membrane layers. During infection the virus deposits its genetic material into a human cell where it reprogrammes the host cell machinery to generate many copies of the viral genome and initiates the production of a viral protein called Gag.

In the immature virus, many copies of Gag interact to form a roughly spherical lattice that encloses the virus' genetic material. The virus then leaves the cell with the help of proteins of the host and infects new cells.

Using a method called cryoelectron tomography researchers in the groups of John Briggs at EMBL and Hans-Georg Krausslich at the University Clinic Heidelberg generated the as yet highest resolution 3D computer reconstruction images of the immature Gag lattice.

The results suggest a simple model of HIV formation in human cells: multiple Gag proteins interact to form a hexameric lattice that grows with an inherent curvature and that incorporates new proteins stochastically. Several further steps in which Gag is cleaved by an enzyme are necessary to transform this immature lattice into its mature, infectious form.

Briggs and his team are now working on producing an even higher resolution structure of the protein lattice to gain a more detailed understanding of the virus' assembly and maturation processes, which may eventually help to find weak points that could be targeted by drugs.

Cryoelectron tomography is a technique with which a sample is instantly frozen in its natural state and then examined with an electron microscope. Images are taken from different directions and assembled into an accurate 3D reconstruction by a computer.


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,000+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,400+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Drought Resistance Explained
Structural study at EMBL reveals how plants respond to water shortages.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
The Closest Look Ever at Native Human Tissue
EMBL researchers have published the first 3D image of human skin at molecular resolution and reveal the molecular Velcro-like organization that interlinks cells.
Friday, December 07, 2007
Scientific News
Secrets of a Deadly Virus Family Revealed
Scripps Research scientists uncover the glycoprotein structure of LCMV. The findings could guide development of treatments for Lassa fever.
Serotonin Transporter Structure Revealed
Researchers determined the 3-D structure of the serotonin transporter and visualized how two common antidepressants interact with the protein.
Zika Virus Structure Revealed
Team at Purdue becomes the first to determine the structure of the Zika virus, which reveals insights critical to the development of effective antiviral treatments and vaccines.
Half a Million-Dollar Tick
How proteins present in tick saliva prevent the immune system from running amok.
Promising Model for Hantavirus Drug Design
X-ray crystallography provides drug template against disease transmitted by small rodents.
A Crystal Clear View of Biomolecules
Fundamental discovery triggers paradigm shift in crystallography.
'Molecular Movie' Opens Door to New Cancer Treatments
An international team of scientists led by the University of Liverpool has produced a 'structural movie' revealing the step-by-step creation of an important naturally occurring chemical in the body that plays a role in some cancers.
Crouching Protein, Hidden Enzyme
A new study led by scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) and the University of California (UC), Berkeley shows how a crucial molecular enzyme starts in a tucked-in somersault position and flips out when it encounters the right target.
Spotlight on Acoustic Liquid Handling
Journal of Laboratory Automation special issue highlights how acoustic liquid handling enables breakthrough innovations.
3D Images of Enzymes May Lead to Improved Antibiotics
Research advances understanding of how crucial proteins function.
SELECTBIO

SELECTBIO Market Reports
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,000+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,400+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!