Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Better study of Enteroviruses- Possible by means of Gold Nanoparticles

Now, it is possible to study one of the most infamous Enteroviruses, that are cause of many malicious diseases like polio, foot and mouth diseases etc. Uptill now, because of their size and variability studying them was a significant challenge. But Researchers from University of Jyväskylä in Finland have now reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences a new way of attaching tracking particles that does not affect the functionality or behaviour of virus, but making it possible for us to understand them better.

A modified gold nanoparticles have been developed by the researchers  that bind to enteroviruses, but do not alter their ability to infect target hosts. These  particles are made of thiol-stabilized 1.5nm metal core Au102 gold clusters and covalently bind close to the surface of the viruses. The organic thiol surface of the Au102 particles is modified by attaching linker molecules that make a chemical bond to sulfur-containing cysteine residues that are part of the surface structure of the virus. Thus, numerous gold particles can bind to a single virus at a time that can determine overall shape and structure of virus on the bases of binding pattern. Also, structural changes that a virus undergoes during its life span can be better studied with the help of these gold particles.

Further, the infectivity of the viruses is not compromised by the attached gold particles, which indicates that the labelling method does not interfere with the normal biological functions of viruses inside cells. This facilitated the new investigations on virus structures during various phases of infection ,mechanism of its uncoating, tracking its pathway in tissues and understanding acute and chronic symptoms caused by it.

This method is expected to be useful for developing new antiviral vaccines based on virus-like particles.