Archive for December, 2012

And so it went – 2012, that is

14 December, 2012

…like a rocket…flashed past; I’m still emotionally in August or so!

I meant to do some more substantive posts instead of only copying Virology News posts here; however, the best-laid plans and such, and I didn’t.  I will in 2013, though – and there will be an iBook coming or possibly even two (influenza and PCR), so I will use this forum to announce glad tidings.

Then there’s the ZA Virus [=Zombie Apocalypse, obviously] novel, and Green Vaccines, and…OK, getting ahead of myself here!

Thanks for the support and readership, I hope everyone has a good solstice break!



PS: some access stats for 2012 for you.  Looks like the only places that DON’T access ViroBlogy are parts of central and west Africa, central Asia and Greenland.

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PLOS Pathogens: Tubular Structure Induced by a Plant Virus Facilitates Viral Spread in Its Vector Insect

7 December, 2012

See on Scoop.itVirology News

“Numerous plant viruses that seriously damage agricultural crops are transmitted by insects. However, the mechanisms enabling virus transmission by vector insects have been poorly understood, in part, due to the lack of useful tools. A persistent-propagative plant virus replicates and encodes nonstructural proteins to form various cytopathological structures in their two types of hosts: plants and vector insects. Here, we took advantage of unique biological tools, including insect vector cell culture and RNA interference (RNAi) induced by synthesized dsRNA, to investigate the molecular mechanisms facilitating the efficient spread of Rice dwarf virus (RDV), a persistent-propagative plant virus, among cells and organs of leafhopper vector. Our experimental evidence shows that RDV exploited virus-containing tubules composed of nonstructural viral protein Pns10 to traffic along actin-based cellular machinery, allowing efficient cell-to-cell spread of the virus in leafhopper vector. Consistently, and in support of a function of Pns10 tubules as a determinant for viral spread in vector insect, the introduction of dsRNA from Pns10 gene into cultured insect vector cells or intact insect strongly inhibited such tubule formation, preventing efficient viral intercellular spread in the leafhopper in vitro and in vivo and subsequent transmission by the vector, without significant effect on viral multiplication in leafhopper cells.”


This paper has some of what HAVE to be some of the nicest confocal pics I have ever seen illustrating structures to do with viruses in cells – and explains an old mystery, which is – why do many plant-infecting viruses induce the formation of tubular structures?  In this case, to spread the virus between cells of the vector.  Nice!

See on

Making a Flu Vaccine Without the Virus | Wired Science |

6 December, 2012

See on Scoop.itVirology News

A new vaccine strategy could make flu shots cheaper, safer, and easier to produce.

…scientists at the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institute (Germany’s Federal Research Institute for Animal Health), and biotech company CureVac in Tübingen have … designed a piece of mRNA encoding the hemagglutinin of the influenza strain H1N1. Cells use mRNA to shuttle the information contained in the genome from the nucleus into the periphery of the cell, where it is translated into a protein. By injecting synthetic mRNA into the skin of mice, the researchers coaxed the animals’ cells into producing the virus protein themselves. This elicited an immune response that later protected the animals from infection with otherwise lethal doses of influenza virus, the researchers reported online on 25 November in Nature Biotechnology.


Yessss….welll….ummmmm….  No, it wouldn’t be cheaper: RNA is EXPENSIVE to make under any circumstances.  And there is a published alternative that would probably be MUCH easier: encapsidating mRNA made in cells via an alphavirus vector, in Tobacco mosaic virus coat protein!


Virology. 2007 Feb 20;358(2):321-33. Epub 2006 Oct 2.
Assembly of trans-encapsidated recombinant viral vectors engineered from Tobacco mosaic virus and Semliki Forest virus and their evaluation as immunogens.
Smith ML, Corbo T, Bernales J, Lindbo JA, Pogue GP, Palmer KE, McCormick AA.

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