Temperate phages are viruses that infect bacteria and can switch between two different replication cycles. In one cycle, the phage genome is replicated and packaged into new phage particles that eventually burst out of the infected bacterial cell. Instead of replicating on its own, the phage genome can also integrate in the genome of its … More The mindless chatter of a bacteriophage
A bacteriophage that infects Pseudomonas bacteria can assemble a nucleus-like compartment in infected cells. A team of researchers at University of California San Diego, led by Joe Pogliano, used microscopy to show this in a recent publication in the journal Science. The researchers observed how phage DNA is replicated and transcribed inside the compartment, while … More Phage makes compartments like a nucleus in bacterial cells
Cryo electron microscopy has long been a favorite tool of people that work on icosahedral viruses. By applying the very high order of symmetry of the icosahedral virus capsid to a 3D reconstruction, structural virologists have often been able to boost the signal-to-noise ratio in their maps high enough to reveal details on the atomic … More Structure of a packaged viral genome
It’s been just over one year since I joined David Veesler’s lab at University of Washington. I’m learning how to do cryo electron microscopy and one thing that stands out is that even the highest grade of sample is still no guarantee for success. Preparing a good cryo grid presents its own unique challenges and … More A quick fix to prepare cryoEM grids for difficult samples
A preliminary report in the weekly bulletin of the CDC shows that Colombia has so far reported four times as many cases of microcephaly in 2016 as it did during the same period in 2015 (476 vs 110 cases, respectively). The numbers of new cases this year appeared to peak around July. This rise in … More Did zika virus cause a rise of microcephaly in Colombia?
Neurons have long projections known as axons that connect with other cells. Outgoing electrical impulses from the neuron’s body travel down the axon, which is wrapped up tight in a thick insulating sheet of myelin. Matti Pronker, a colleague during my time at the Bijvoet Institute at Utrecht University and graduate student of Bert Janssen, … More Spacing of myelin and the axon by Myelin Associated Glycoprotein
As early as October 2014 during the ebola virus epidemic in West Africa, Russian officials announced that they were working on a vaccine. In January of 2016, Putin announced that they had a good candidate that ‘proved effective’. They revealed no details about the vaccine or the trial results, and the announcement was met with … More A mysterious Russian vaccine against ebola virus