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Dynamics of key viral attack strategy visible for first time

June 06, 2019 / phys.org

Many infectious viruses, from HIV to West Nile, rely on a fundamental biological process called frameshifting to maximize their attack. Long identified as a key mechanism that viruses use to proliferate inside their hosts, the real-time dynamics of frameshifting had never been directly observed, until now. For the first time, Colorado State University scientists Tim Stasevich and Brian Munsky have developed detailed imaging technology and computational analyses to visualize, quantify and understand frameshifting mechanisms at the level of single molecules in living cells. The publication of their work June 6 in the journal Molecular Cellincludes first author and graduate student Kenneth Lyon, and computational modeling support from postdoctoral researcher Luis Aguilera. "Our hope is that these integrated experimental and computational methods, allowing us to observe and predict unique aspects of viral replication, can offer strategies for future antiviral therapies," said Sta...