Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Luminating Viruses
05 July 2016

Luminating Viruses

Nora virus (not to be confused with Norovirus) is a harmless virus that causes no obvious symptoms and only affects fruit flies. It is closely related to a family of viruses called picornaviruses, which cause polio, colds, and eye and intestinal infections in humans. To provide insight into how picornaviruses interact with the proteins inside our cells, researchers developed a method to follow Nora virus infection in fruit flies. They engineered a viral enzyme not only to activate certain functions within the cell it infects, but also to glow as it does so. The team was therefore able to identify infected cells and follow the virus’s journey. Virus-infected cells within the fruit fly’s stomach are illuminated in red, and muscle cells in green. This new method will help increase knowledge of picornaviruses and could also be applied to other viral infections.

Written by Katie Panteli

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