Saturday, March 5, 2011

Herpes in 3-D

A new 3-D model of Herpes Virus made at the University of Manchester may help to better explain how Herpes viruses work at the molecular  level. The scientists designed the model using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). NMR was used to capture images of a specific herpes virus protein as it interacted with a protein on mouse cells. From these images, a 3-D model was created.

As seen in the model shown above, the viral protein (red) "piggybacks" onto the mouse protein. Using this model, as well as experiments with the human protein equivalent and experiments with monkeys, the researchers claim to have "uncovered the mechanism by which the viral and cellular proteins work together to guide the viral genetic material out of the cell's nucleus". The hope is that by better understanding the process in which the herpes virus proceeds to make viral proteins (via translation in the cytoplasm), we will better understand how to prevent and treat herpes-related diseases.



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