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The Giant Pandoravirus' Pandora's box!

Who - A protozoan killer, that is, well, a virus! This is a giant virus, which has amoeba hosts. The virus is 1 micrometre long and 0.5 micrometres across, and has genome length to the tune of a few million bases! These are  larger than many bacteria and even some eukaryotic cells!

Where - Found first in a water sample collected off the coast of Chile (Pandoravirus salinus), and then subsequently in a pond in Melbourne (P. dulcis). (Yes, in two different continents altogether!). Suggesting that they are widespread, and that the initial sighting was not some artifact.

How - These viruses lack the features of cellular organisms. They are unable to produce their own energy, and thus depend on Amoeba for their life cycles. Bursting open the amoeba upon generation of new virus particles.

The Genes - These large little ones possess genes, most of which are yet unseen! Only 7% of their genes match existing databases.

The Pandora's box - The contents and the function of these other genes. 

A lot more needs to be done. Many breakthroughs are yet to come it seems, now that this Pandora's box is open.

That's the beauty of the living world, there's more than what eyes can see!

Article link http://www.sciencemag.org/content/341/6143/281

For +ScienceSunday curated by +Robby Bowles , +Allison Sekuler , +Chad Haney , +Rajini Rao and +Buddhini Samarasinghe 

#ScienceSunday   #Viromania   #Viruses  
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Vaccinia Virus

Famous for its use as the smallpox vaccine, vaccinia is a member of the Poxviruses family. It is one of the largest viruses, and boasts of a huge genome(~190 kbp) and large virion size (360 × 270 × 250 nm) , which makes it visible under a normal fluorescence microscope.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaccinia)

The most surprising thing about vaccinia is that despite of the fact that it being responsible for the eradication of the first and the only human disease (smallpox), its origin and natural host are still not known! (Though it was thought earlier that Vaccinia and Cowpox were one and the same).

Vaccinia Virus Vectors

Modified Vaccinia Ankara (MVA) was a highly attenuated vaccinia strain, prepared by Prof. Anton Mayer in Germany. MVA was used towards the end of the Smallpox eradication campaign. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modified_vaccinia_Ankara)

Genetically engineered vaccinia vectors can now be prepared. The large genome of vaccinia has only a small quantity of genes which are not useful for the virus replication. These genes can be replaced by the genes of any other virus against which a vaccine needs to be made. When injected, the recombinant virus replicates and expresses the genes of our interest. Thereby presenting them to our immune system and eliciting an immune response in the vaccinee. 

There are two steps in the production of this vaccine-
In the first step , a plasmid is constructed that contains the foreign gene linked to a vaccinia virus promoter.
Secondly, this chimeric gene is inserted into the vaccinia virus genome by homologous recombination between virus and plasmid DNA in vivo.

Such vaccines might also retain the familiar advantages of smallpox vaccine: heat stability, low cost, ease of administration, and a scar as visible proof of vaccination.

This strategy is being explored for the development for vaccines against Hepatitis B, Influenza, Herpes Simplex 1 Virus, and even HIV!

For further reading
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC358149/
http://vir.sgmjournals.org/content/67/10/2067.full.pdf

Image source
http://wonderandscience.tumblr.com/page/2
Green Fluorescent protein expressing vaccinia virus (pink)

For #sciencesunday  curated by +Allison Sekuler+Robby Bowles+Chad Haney+Rajini Rao and +Buddhini Samarasinghe 

#viromania   #viruses   #vaccine  
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Thanks +William McGarvey :)
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Sharing our community of virtuous viruses-
The kind that don't make you sick!!

Feel free to join us and post here!
Virtuous Virology
The brighter side of viruses!! :)
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The Virtuous Virus Which created History!

Eradication of the deadly disease of Smallpox has been the best achievement ever in the history of infectious disease biology. 
All credit goes to Edward Jenner and a virtuous virus! Yes! I am talking about the Cowpox Virus!

This was the birth of vaccinology . . .

Here goes the story-

Edward Jenner noticed that milkmaids were somehow immune to the deadly disease of Smallpox which was wreaking havoc everywhere in the world. He then investigated further and found out that the milk maids showed some kind of a rash on their hands, a rash which was quite comparable to that seen in Smallpox, but which was way milder than it!

Those were the days when science was nascent. There were no ethical committees or human rights commission! So he took scrapings from the pus filled blisters (of cowpox) from the hands of a milkmaid called Sarah Nelmes and inoculated an eight year old boy James Phipps (the son of Jenner's gardner) with it. Phipps suffered from the mild rash associated with cowpox.

Then came the tricky step. Jenner challenged Phipps' immune system with the smallpox virus, by inoculating through the skin. Phipps developed fever and mild rash, but not a full blown infection!
Thus James Phipps became the first individual vaccinated against smallpox, and the rest is history!

Thus, the virtuous cowpox virus, saved mankind from its killer cousin- the smallpox virus . And mankind is breathing smallpox-free air since 1980!

The pictures below show the blister of cowpox in an 11 year old girl. The other picture is the electron micrograph of the virtuous cowpox virus. :)

Here's the wikipedia page on Edward Jenner
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Jenner

For #sciencesunday  curated by +Robby Bowles, +Allison Sekuler,+Rajini Rao, +Chad Haney and +Buddhini Samarasinghe  

#viromania   #scienceeveryday   #vaccines   #vaccineswork  
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The Death of a Cell

Here's an amazing animation on apoptosis from http://www.wehi.edu.au/

Apoptosis is the process in which a diseased cell kills itself in order to prevent the spread of infection to other cells. Apoptosis has an important role to play in many viral infections.
In addition to that, many viruses mimic factors involved in the apoptosis cascade in order to induce apoptosis in the initial stages of infection.

Reading about the pathways of apoptosis from books is good, but this video has taken my understanding of it to another level ! I now understand the very scale of it! A beautiful beautiful illustration!
 
Relish this awesomely animated video and don't forget to turn your speakers on the maximum volume! Don't miss the fabulous sound effects!

Webpage: http://www.wehi.edu.au/education/wehitv/apoptosis_and_signal_transduction/

This website was the listener's pick this week in +Vincent Racaniello and friends' TWiV
http://www.twiv.tv/2012/12/16/twiv-211-viruses-r-us/

PS- I simply ♥ TWiV, do you? :)


#scienceeveryday   #viromania  
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Bird Flu outbreak near Bangalore, India

The Karnataka government on Monday said that tests had confirmed that the 206 chicken and 17 ducks that died at the Central Poultry Development Organization at Hesaraghatta near Bangalore were affected by the highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N1) virus. 

The outbreak has necessitated culling of over 33,000 birds — 19,235 chicken, 13,673 ducks and 369 emus — on the institute's premises and its 1km radius. It said 52 chicken sheds in the area are being sanitized to prevent any spread of the flu.

About 80 samples were collected from villages around CPDO and sent for tests to Bhopal's high security Animal Disease Laboratory on Saturday. No further unnatural deaths of birds have been reported from this zone.

Hope this outbreak is contained as soon as possible. In the meanwhile proper precautions by the people of this area should be followed religiously.

#india   #poultry   #viraldiseases   #scienceeveryday  
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Have them in circles
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The Virtuous Virus Which created History!

Eradication of the deadly disease of Smallpox has been the best achievement ever in the history of infectious disease biology. 
All credit goes to Edward Jenner and a virtuous virus! Yes! I am talking about the Cowpox Virus!

This was the birth of vaccinology . . .

Here goes the story-

Edward Jenner noticed that milkmaids were somehow immune to the deadly disease of Smallpox which was wreaking havoc everywhere in the world. He then investigated further and found out that the milk maids showed some kind of a rash on their hands, a rash which was quite comparable to that seen in Smallpox, but which was way milder than it!

Those were the days when science was nascent. There were no ethical committees or human rights commission! So he took scrapings from the pus filled blisters (of cowpox) from the hands of a milkmaid called Sarah Nelmes and inoculated an eight year old boy James Phipps (the son of Jenner's gardner) with it. Phipps suffered from the mild rash associated with cowpox.

Then came the tricky step. Jenner challenged Phipps' immune system with the smallpox virus, by inoculating through the skin. Phipps developed fever and mild rash, but not a full blown infection!
Thus James Phipps became the first individual vaccinated against smallpox, and the rest is history!

Thus, the virtuous cowpox virus, saved mankind from its killer cousin- the smallpox virus . And mankind is breathing smallpox-free air since 1980!

The pictures below show the blister of cowpox in an 11 year old girl. The other picture is the electron micrograph of the virtuous cowpox virus. :)

Here's the wikipedia page on Edward Jenner
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Jenner

For #sciencesunday  curated by +Robby Bowles, +Allison Sekuler,+Rajini Rao, +Chad Haney and +Buddhini Samarasinghe  

#viromania   #scienceeveryday   #vaccines   #vaccineswork  
1
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Adenovirus + Tbx18 = Biological Pacemaker

From Nature Biotechnology (http://goo.gl/EFbeq), Nidhi Kapoor et al reported that they have been able to convert rat heart muscle cells into a pacemaker cells. This gene therapy in short, done by inserting the selected gene called Tbx18 into an adenovirus vector and expressing it in cardiomyocytes.

There are of course other reports and applications of adenovirus as a vector, especially in gene therapy. It is very interesting to note how viruses have been used to cure and treat medical condition. In this case, it's aging. In a typical adult heart there are fewer than 10,000 pacemakers cells, and these cells are injured by either genetic defect or through age. The injury could make the heartbeat uncoordinated, which means improper blood pumping.

According to the paper, the experiment has worked quite well in vivo. So hopefully in the near future we can use the genetically modified adenovirus to keep the heart beating! :)

Oh, and Happy 2013 from Virtuous Virology!
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Purging away the teenage concern!

Bacteriophages have been found to inhibit the acne causing bacterium Propionibacterium acnes in lab culture.
This can be further extrapolated to using it on humans, and can thus pioneer a huge amount of research in this field. Which can include treating bed sores, leprosy and drug resistant staph infections. 

The phages were shown to kill clinical isolates of the acne causing bacteria.
Follow the links below to read further...

Source
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-10-10/good-viruses-will-fight-acne-as-1915-discovery-is-revived.html

Here's the original research article (full text)
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3448167/
2
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Vaccinia Virus

Famous for its use as the smallpox vaccine, vaccinia is a member of the Poxviruses family. It is one of the largest viruses, and boasts of a huge genome(~190 kbp) and large virion size (360 × 270 × 250 nm) , which makes it visible under a normal fluorescence microscope.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaccinia)

The most surprising thing about vaccinia is that despite of the fact that it being responsible for the eradication of the first and the only human disease (smallpox), its origin and natural host are still not known! (Though it was thought earlier that Vaccinia and Cowpox were one and the same).

Vaccinia Virus Vectors

Modified Vaccinia Ankara (MVA) was a highly attenuated vaccinia strain, prepared by Prof. Anton Mayer in Germany. MVA was used towards the end of the Smallpox eradication campaign. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modified_vaccinia_Ankara)

Genetically engineered vaccinia vectors can now be prepared. The large genome of vaccinia has only a small quantity of genes which are not useful for the virus replication. These genes can be replaced by the genes of any other virus against which a vaccine needs to be made. When injected, the recombinant virus replicates and expresses the genes of our interest. Thereby presenting them to our immune system and eliciting an immune response in the vaccinee. 

There are two steps in the production of this vaccine-
In the first step , a plasmid is constructed that contains the foreign gene linked to a vaccinia virus promoter.
Secondly, this chimeric gene is inserted into the vaccinia virus genome by homologous recombination between virus and plasmid DNA in vivo.

Such vaccines might also retain the familiar advantages of smallpox vaccine: heat stability, low cost, ease of administration, and a scar as visible proof of vaccination.

This strategy is being explored for the development for vaccines against Hepatitis B, Influenza, Herpes Simplex 1 Virus, and even HIV!

For further reading
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC358149/
http://vir.sgmjournals.org/content/67/10/2067.full.pdf

Image source
http://wonderandscience.tumblr.com/page/2
Green Fluorescent protein expressing vaccinia virus (pink)

For #sciencesunday  curated by +Allison Sekuler+Robby Bowles+Chad Haney+Rajini Rao and +Buddhini Samarasinghe 

#viromania   #viruses   #vaccine  
1
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Two links I'd like to share with you all...

Dengue fever sweeps India 
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/07/world/asia/alarm-over-indias-dengue-fever-epidemic.html?pagewanted=all&_r=2&

Influenza Encyclopedia
The American Influenza Epidemic of 1918-1919
http://www.influenzaarchive.org/

From the TWiV weekly picks.

#viromania   #scienceeveryday  
1
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Yet another flu shift!

Researchers at Ohio State University have found >99 % genetic similarity among the virus strains isolated from Pigs and Humans at the Ohio fair.

The strain was Influenza A H3N2. Which had been isolated from 107 people.

Read more here
 http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/fairflu.htm

From Eveline Hoebe's share on Linked in.

#viromania   #scienceeveryday   #influenzavirus  
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Have them in circles
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Welcome to the 'unofficial' Google page of the National Institute of Virology! 
Managed by +Deeksha Tare  M.Sc. Virology, NIV Pune.

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