SATURDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2016

Researches develop new method to trace viral DNA activity

Researchers at the University of Zurich announced on Wednesday a new method to trace the DNA of viral diseases in single-molecule resolution, which could lead to increased understanding of viral diseases and new cures.

The method allowed researchers to gain insight into the location of viral DNA in cells and how tissue cells react to viral DNA, which could lead to new treatments and therapies for HIV and other viral diseases.

University of Zurich Professor and Lead Researcher Urs Greber and his team infected human cell cultures with fluorescent-labeled viral DNA and observed its activity as it entered the cells.

"Our molecule is incorporated into viral DNA without affecting the biological function of the DNA, and it can be used to label the DNA for fluorescence microscopy," University of Zurich Professor Nathan Luedtke said.

Researchers concluded that cell nuclei have antiviral defense mechanisms that differ between cells.

"Using this elegant method, we can reveal that not all the incoming viral DNA enters the cell nucleus as originally expected, but a significant fraction remains in the cytosol, the fluids of the cytoplasm," Greber said. "For the first time we can display the localization of incoming viral DNA and link it to anti-viral defense or infection mechanisms."