Viral disassembly is an important step after infection into the host cells but the process is poorly understood. However, directly observing the process in living cells remains technically challenging. Research groups led by Dr. Zongqiang Cui of Wuhan Institute of Virology and Dr. Xian-En Zhang of the Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, recently reported that they were able to directly observe the process. The research was also jointed by the scientists from Wuhan University and Beijing University of Chemical Engineering.
They labeled the genome RNA, capsid, and matrix protein of the HIV-1 virus separately with a Ru(II) complex ([Ru(phen)2(dppz)]2+), the TC-FlAsH/ReAsH system, and EGFP/ECFP. Using the “multicolored” virus and single-particle imaging technique, the authors were able to track the sequential disassembly process of single HIV-1 virus particles in the live host cells. The timing and efficiency of the disassembly were influenced by the cellular factor CypA and reverse transcription.
The findings facilitate a better understanding of the processes governing the HIV-1 lifecycle. The multicolor labeling protocol developed in this study may find many applications involving virus−host-cell interactions.
This study was published online on ACS Nano (DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.6b02462).
National Laboratory of Biomacromolecules, IBP
Analytical pathogen microbiology and nanobiology
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