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NC State Biochemistry



Publication by Dr. Brown chosen as Highlighted Article in Journal of Virology

The editors of Journal of Virology have chosen a recent publication by Dr. Dennis Brown to be highlighted on the cover page of the April, 2013 issue. In this paper, titled "Alphavirus genome delivery occurs directly at the plasma membrane in a time and temperature dependent process", Drs. Brown and Hernandez combine two experimental approaches - electron microsopy and immuno-labeling - to visualize virus entry into cells.

Lead author, Dr. Ricardo Vancini, a post-doctoral associate with Drs. Brown and Raquel Hernandez, found that that upon attaching to the cell surface, intact RNA containing viruses became empty shells which could only be identified by antibody labeling. The rate at which full particles were converted to empty particles increased with time and temperature. The entry event takes place at temperatures which inhibit both endosome formation and membrane fusion. The authors conclude that entry of alphaviruses is by direct penetration of cell plasma membranes through a pore structure formed by virus and, possibly, host proteins.

To access the full article ahead of print, visit the journal website here.
Illustration of Sindbis virus infecting the host cell. The three-dimensional structure of the virus is shown in a cutaway view (colored radially) and positioned on an electron micrograph of a cell membrane with the phospholipid bilayer illustrated and with a background of negatively stained Sindbis virus particles. The virion structure is representatively labeled with immunogold antibodies. Intact RNA containing viruses became empty in a time- and temperaturedependent process which can be identified by immuno-electron microscopy. The viral RNA (electrodense projection) is illustrated being translocated across the membrane through a pore composed of viral and possibly host proteins.