Friday, March 1, 2024
HomescienceThe virus "liquefies" its DNA at human body temperature

The virus “liquefies” its DNA at human body temperature

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Viruses do not carry out their own metabolism and cannot reproduce on their own. It depends entirely on the host cell. They hijack cellular machinery, use it to create new viruses and release them to infect other cells.

The genetic material of the virus is protected by a capsid. The Swedish-American team wanted to better understand the reasons for its launch and how the process works. Already in 2014, the Swedes published an article in which they stated that something might happen to the genetic material of the virus at a temperature of about 37 degrees Celsius. “As we raised the temperature, the more rigid the viral DNA became. Suddenly, at the temperature at which infection occurred, something happened. It was as if there was no DNA left in the virion, and all the rigidity was gone,” says Professor Alex Illevich. .

The article attracted the attention of the scientific community, but conducting such research is difficult and requires, among other things, the right tools. — It is not easy to monitor the virus's DNA. It's a delicate material that's difficult to image, and phages are very small, about ten times smaller than a bacterial cell. However, thanks to the help of the NIST synchrotron and a private grant, we were able to use neutrons to image the structure and density of phage DNA and examine how it changes at different temperatures, Illevich adds.

Echo Richards
Echo Richards
Echo Richards embodies a personality that is a delightful contradiction: a humble musicaholic who never brags about her expansive knowledge of both classic and contemporary tunes. Infuriatingly modest, one would never know from a mere conversation how deeply entrenched she is in the world of music. This passion seamlessly translates into her problem-solving skills, with Echo often drawing inspiration from melodies and rhythms. A voracious reader, she dives deep into literature, using stories to influence her own hardcore writing. Her spirited advocacy for alcohol isn't about mere indulgence, but about celebrating life's poignant moments.

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