It being that time of the year….

…one’s thoughts turn to frivolity rather than virology, but hold! – one must always be serious.  Therefore – a competition!!  And Happy New Year, BTW.

So: what do the following particles have in common?  A three-part answer, this; the first fairly easy, the second more difficult, and the third quite obscure.  The winner will, as previously, get to write a guest blog for ViroBlogy!!  Dorian, limber up there.  Varsani, you’re disqualified, so too anyone from my lab – unless well disguised. *

Hint 1: yes, they are

Hint 2: you could catch them together?

Hint 3: strange as it may seem, these are identical.

I hope this is sufficiently obscure?  Have fun, won’t you.

* = this qualifies as Hint 4.

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2 Responses to “It being that time of the year….”

  1. DMcILROY Says:

    I’m afraid it’s possible to cheat! By clicking on the images – the name comes up. However, before I did that, here was my guess:

    They both look like icosahedral non-enveloped particles to me. On the lower one, you can just make out the capsomeres, and I reckoned it was T=7 (that’s when I clicked on the image, to see if I could get a bigger version), which makes it a papova. The ones you are likely to catch are HPV, but then catching them together?

    I suppose you could catch a warty HPV together with a molluscum contagiosum, but the particle above is definitely not a poxvirus. AFAIK, no other viruses are transmitted directly through the skin, so that leaves sexually transmitted diseases.

    And that’s where I got stuck, because the other EM just looks like a big round blob to my untrained eye, I’m afraid.


    PS. I can write a post from the CROI, if you like.

    • Ed Rybicki Says:

      …and for the second competition running, the winner is…Dorian McIlroy!!

      So the answers are:
      a) yes, they are virus-like particles
      b) both are sexually transmitted
      c) Mr of the single proteins that make the particles is 55 kDa
      d) and seeing my lab works on HIV and HPV vaccines – Dorian, the top one is HIV Pr55gag VLPs, which ARE blobs, as they bud out through the cell membrane. The second are T=7 particles, and are of course HPV-16 VLPs. So seriously good deduction from scanty evidence there!

      As usual, you win a guest blog spot. A write-up on CROI would be good!

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