Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New technique tracks viral infections, aids development of antiviral drugs

Date:
April 11, 2011
Source:
Naval Research Laboratory
Summary:
Scientists have developed a method to rapidly measure thousands of cells and quickly determine the presence of viruses.

Scientists at the Naval Research Laboratory Center for Bio-Molecular Science and Engineering have developed a method to detect the presence of viruses in cells and to study their growth. Targeting a virus that has ribonucleic acid (RNA) as its genetic makeup, the new technique referred to as locked nucleic acid (LNA) flow cytometry-fluorescence in situ hybridization (flow-FISH), involves the binding of an LNA probe to viral RNA.

While individual parts of the technique have been developed previously, Drs. Kelly Robertson and Eddie Chang, in collaboration with researchers at the NRL Lab for Biosensors and Biomaterials, demonstrate for the first time that the combination of LNA probes with flow-FISH can be used to quantify viral RNA in infected cells. This also allows the scientists to monitor the changes in viral RNA accompanying antiviral drug treatment.

Once the probe is bound to the viral RNA inside mammalian cells, it is tagged with a fluorescent dye, then thousands of these tagged cells are measured rapidly by "flow cytometry" -- a method for counting and examining microscopic particles, such as cells and chromosomes, by suspending them in a stream of fluid and passing them by an electronic detection apparatus.

"The ability to rapidly measure thousands of cells for the presence of virus, sets this technique apart from currently used methods to monitor viral replication," said Robertson.

Traditionally, antibodies used to detect viruses must be produced and calibrated for each specific strain and are highly susceptible to viral mutations. Assays commonly used for quantifying viral loads and for drug development can be time consuming and rely on visible signs of cell damage, which is not produced in all viruses and can take long periods of time to occur.

Techniques such as quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR), microarrays, and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs), while highly sensitive, involve the lysis [the breaking down] of cells prior to measurement and are therefore unable to provide information about cellular viability, infected cell phenotypes, percentage of infected cells or the variation in infection among a cell population. The LNA probe differs from traditional nucleotide probes by binding more tightly to its target RNA.

LNA-flow FISH presents a fast and easy way to screen for compounds with antiviral activity and could be adapted for monitoring infections in the blood for vaccine therapy and development. This method adds a necessary tool for several emerging areas in cell biology that enables the use of high throughput measurements for entire populations and improves statistical analyses.

"This method can be expanded by adding more than one kind of LNA probe to enable multiple detection of different viral and host RNA," adds Robertson. "The multiplexing enhancement can be used to better understand infectious agents, allowing this technique to be used to aid in the development of antiviral drugs for a variety of viruses."

LNA flow-FISH offers an advantage over other techniques due to its simplicity and superiority. Methods involving genetic recombination of the virus to express a fluorescent protein as a means to mark the presence of virus can utilize flow cytometry for large-batch analysis of infected cells. However, an exception to this approach is viral strains that have not acquired genetic mutations, known as wild-type viruses (such as strains of Human Immunodeficiency Virus-HIV), which would require a large initial investment of labor for engineering each virus of interest.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Naval Research Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Naval Research Laboratory. "New technique tracks viral infections, aids development of antiviral drugs." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 April 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110411103719.htm>.
Naval Research Laboratory. (2011, April 11). New technique tracks viral infections, aids development of antiviral drugs. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110411103719.htm
Naval Research Laboratory. "New technique tracks viral infections, aids development of antiviral drugs." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110411103719.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Center for Science in the Public Interest released its 2014 list of single meals with whopping calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins