Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Technology
Networks
Scientific Communities
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Diamond Sheds Light on Basic Building Blocks of Life

Published: Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Last Updated: Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Bookmark and Share
The UK’s national synchrotron facility, Diamond Light Source, is now the first and only place in Europe where pathogens requiring Containment Level 3 can be analysed at atomic and molecular level using synchrotron light.

This special light allows scientists to study virus structures at intense levels of detail and this new facility extends that capability to many viruses that have a major global impact on human and animal health. Studying pathogens in this way has the potential to open up new paths for the development of therapeutic treatments and vaccines.

Presenting at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS 2013) in Boston on the latest virus work undertaken at Diamond, Prof Dave Stuart - Life Sciences Director at Diamond Light Source and Professor of Structural Biology at Oxford University - launches the new lab, Crystal, which will help scientists delve into the inner workings of pathogens and uncover the mechanisms of infection. Prof. Stuart comments:

“Crystal provides unique facilities in Europe for the study of serious viruses. Nowhere in the world can structures be so readily solved with the speed and efficiency that is now available at Diamond. As such, we anticipate interest from a number of groups in the UK, including the Particle Imaging Centre in Oxford, which provides a suite of contained laboratories including a crystallisation laboratory, to support the preparation of sample prior to study at Diamond. This is great news for the UK research community, as the facility will be a resource with the potential to provide new pathways for treatment.”

Diamond already has a strong track record of studying viruses at lower levels of containment. In 2012, scientists determined the structure of the virus that causes hand-foot-and-mouth disease, which can cause severe central nervous system disease in children and poses serious public health threats across the Asia-Pacific region. Some 1.7 million cases were reported by the Chinese Ministry of Health during 2010, and there is no vaccine or therapy available.

An Anglo-Chinese collaboration used the facilities at Diamond to solve the structure of the Human Enterovirus 71 (EV71), which is the root cause of the disease. Using synchrotron light, the team were able to visualise the virus in different states and collect a series of structures, from which they were able to uncover a detailed picture of the virus’s actions in sequence - rather than being a rigid object, the virus appears to actually “breathe”. Such visualisation requires specialist microscopes ten thousand times more powerful than standard laboratory microscopes.

This achievement creates new opportunities for therapies being developed. Prof Stuart explains:
“Together with our Chinese Colleagues, we have now uncovered the structure of EV71 and identified the process by which the virus spreads throughout cells in the human body. These findings can now be used to develop new treatments for hand-foot-and-mouth; and also directly translated to other viruses of the same family, including polio and some forms of the common cold.”

The solving of hand, foot and mouth virus demonstrates the potential impact that the new capabilities could have. Crystal at the Diamond synchrotron enables researchers to rapidly visualise viruses in their entirety and at incredible scales. The facility’s brilliant beams of X-rays allow scientists to study crystallised virus particles, and so produce a comprehensive 3D image of the virus structure. By identifying the virus structure in atomic detail, scientists can target research into vaccines and anti-viral drugs.

The facility is the only one of its kind in Europe and one of only two in the world. Dr Katherine McAuley, science leader for the facility concludes, “Crystal is a major advance, not just for the UK, but for Europe at large. Given the groundwork that has been performed at Diamond so far on viruses like the hand-foot-and-mouth, we are introducing a step change in research capabilities, so that more complex studies can be undertaken in a swift and effective way. The unique capabilities that the facility offers are expected to draw scientists from around the world, and establish the nation’s synchrotron as a hub of world-leading research into disease prevention.”


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 3,900+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 5,300+ 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

Diamond Appoints Director for its New Electron Bioimaging Centre
Appointment of human pathogen specialist, Professor Peijun Zhang, helps bolster UK’s strength in advanced microscopy research.
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Diamond Light Source Scientists Publish 5000th Paper
Diamond’s milestone paper reveals findings on embryonic defects.
Friday, October 07, 2016
Diamond Light Source Announce Launch of ePSIC
Electron Physical Sciences Imaging Centre launch set to boost the UK’s science and technology infrastructure.
Tuesday, September 06, 2016
Do Germs Cause Type 1 Diabetes?
Germs could play a role in the development of type 1 diabetes by triggering the body’s immune system to destroy the cells that produce insulin, new research suggests.
Tuesday, May 17, 2016
Pioneering Brain Cancer Technique Could Lead to Better Prognosis for Patients
4,000th paper published from Diamond research could improve outcomes for brain cancer sufferers.
Friday, December 18, 2015
Solved Structure of S. pneumoniae Enzyme Could Lead to New Antibiotics
Scientists solve structure of a key bacterial enzyme from streptococcus pneumoniae: a major cause of bacterial meningitis, bronchitis, ear infection and pneumonia.
Thursday, December 03, 2015
New UK Facility to Accelerate Drug Discovery
Diamond’s on-site fragment screening facility a major boost for structural biologists.
Thursday, November 26, 2015
Key Cellular Mechanism Involved in Neurodegeneration and Herpes Uncovered
The discovery of a protein complex at the heart of cellular transport networks could have broad implications for disease research.
Saturday, March 28, 2015
Lighting Up A New Path For Novel Synthetic Polio Vaccine
Crystal structures and electron microscopy images are being used to develop a vaccine to target the polio virus.
Monday, February 16, 2015
Diamond Celebrates a Glittering Year of Crystallography
From film premieres to major scientific breakthroughs, Diamond Light Source helped make the International Year of Crystallography a memorable event.
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Scientists Gain First Glimpse of One of Nature’s Measuring ‘Rulers’
New findings offer potential to outsmart bacterial infections.
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Scientists Discover Bacteria’s Clever Defence Mechanism
Structure of EzrA protein could help identify new antibiotic targets.
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Investment in New Capability for Materials Analysis
Johnson Matthey, Oxford University, Diamond Light Source announce the creation a state-of-the-art materials characterisation facility at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus.
Thursday, August 07, 2014
Scientists Uncover Bacterial War Tactics
The discovery paves the way for new drugs to fight bacterial infections.
Tuesday, April 08, 2014
Novel Crystallography Beamline Takes Delivery of in Vacuum X-Ray Detector
The Diamond Light Source beamline will facilitate challenging research on DNA, RNA, native proteins and other building blocks of life.
Friday, April 04, 2014
Scientific News
Big Genetics in BC: The American Society for Human Genetics 2016 Meeting
Themes at this year's meeting ranged from the verification, validation, and sharing of data, to the translation of laboratory findings into actionable clinical results.
Stem Cells in Drug Discovery
Potential Source of Unlimited Human Test Cells, but Roadblocks Remain.
Cancer Genetics: Key to Diagnosis, Therapy
When applied judiciously, cancer genetics directs caregivers to the right drug at the right time, while sparing patients of unnecessary or harmful treatments.
Transporting Microscopic Cargo Between Human Cells
Scientists have developed a virus-inspired delivery system for material transport between cells.
Metabolite Promotes Cancer Cell Transformation
Researchers have identified a metabolite that promotes cancer cell transformation and colorectal cancer spread.
Improving Drug Production with Computer Model
A model has been developed that can be used to improve and accelerate the production of biotherapeutics, cancer drugs, and vaccines.
Zika’s Entry Points
Discovery shows Zika infection of neural progenitor cells occurs regardless of AXL production, which was thought to be the main vector for the virus.
New Form of Autism Found
An international team of researchers have identified a new form of syndromic autism.
Radiation-Free Imaging in the Brain
Scientists create sensors that use proteins to detect particular targets through induced blood flow changes.
Failings in Conveying Risks of Undercooked Meat
A study has found that restaurants do not communicate the risks of eating undercooked meats.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

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
3,900+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
5,300+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!