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Virology and Bioinformatics from Virology.ca
Virus and bioinformatics articles with some microbiology and immunology thrown in for good measure
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Researchers Discover New Flu Gene

Researchers Discover New Flu Gene | Virology and Bioinformatics from Virology.ca | Scoop.it
AFD Referral `Researchers Discover New Flu Gene' http://t.co/ApEoBXJ0 #Science #influenza @edyong209 article http://t.co/vrwTtH7c...
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Super Flu & andhim - Reeves

A1 from our EP with Super Flu.Release date: Vinyl: 05.07 Digital: 28.06 Label: Monaberry (new favorite: Super Flu & andhim - Reeves by andhim http://t.co/HHTAWzUh on #SoundCloud...)...
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Flu immunity is affected by how many viruses actually cause the infection

Flu immunity is affected by how many viruses actually cause the infection | Virology and Bioinformatics from Virology.ca | Scoop.it
Both the number of viruses in initial flu infection, and the virus type, affects the patient's outcome. Mice infected by high concentrations developed immunity, and generated immune cells in the lungs to fight other strains.
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Phylogeny: Rewriting evolution

Phylogeny: Rewriting evolution | Virology and Bioinformatics from Virology.ca | Scoop.it
Tiny molecules called microRNAs are tearing apart traditional ideas about the animal family tree.
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Swine Flu Deaths May Have Been 15 Times Higher Than Reported

Swine Flu Deaths May Have Been 15 Times Higher Than Reported | Virology and Bioinformatics from Virology.ca | Scoop.it
The 2009 swine flu pandemic may have killed 15 times more people globally than reported at the time, according to the first study to estimate the death toll.
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Complete Genome Sequence of a New Circular DNA Virus from Grapevine

Complete Genome Sequence of a New Circular DNA Virus from Grapevine | Virology and Bioinformatics from Virology.ca | Scoop.it

"A novel circular DNA virus sequence is reported from grapevine. The corresponding genomic organization, coding potential, and conserved origin of replication are similar to those of members of the family Geminiviridae, but the genome of 3,206 nucleotides is 4% larger than the largest reported geminiviral genome and shares only 50% overall sequence identity."

 

Interesting stuff!  These novel ssDNA viruses are popping up everywhere - probably because they ARE everywhere, well adapted to natural hosts, only rarely transmitted to crop species, and we only stumble upon them by deep sequencing.  Or blind luck.

Geminivirus EM courtesy of Kassie Kasdorf

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Viruses turn out to be new apps of biology - The Economic Times

Viruses turn out to be new apps of biology - The Economic Times | Virology and Bioinformatics from Virology.ca | Scoop.it
Synthetic biology uses synthesised DNA to create biological functions not found in nature.
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Scooped by Ed Rybicki
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The Tree of Life: Best. Microbiology. Video. Ever.

The Tree of Life: Best. Microbiology. Video. Ever. | Virology and Bioinformatics from Virology.ca | Scoop.it

Pretty much!!  They even said "zed" instead of "zee", which pleases me.  Just at the right level of grossness to really make children happy.

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Study says Hep B vaccine offers 25 years' protection

Study says Hep B vaccine offers 25 years' protection | Virology and Bioinformatics from Virology.ca | Scoop.it

Vaccination against hepatitis B seems to protect against the virus for 25 years, suggesting that booster shots are unnecessary, according to a study from Taiwan that covered several thousand people.  “Universal vaccination in infancy provides long-term protection,” wrote lead author Yen-Hsuan Ni, from the National Taiwan University in Taipei.

 

Good news indeed - because chronic infection with HBV, which occurs more often if you get it as a child, leads to a far higher incidence of liver cancer and a lifelong carrier status.  And there's over 300 million people infected, so it's a SERIOUS problem.

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Scientific Process Rage

Scientific Process Rage | Virology and Bioinformatics from Virology.ca | Scoop.it
I came across a student online who was wondering: What do scientists do? What is being a scientist like? In pondering possible responses I started to think about what science and research is actual...

 

so true.  Soooooooo true!


Via Ed Rybicki
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BMC Genomics | Abstract | The immune gene repertoire of an important viral reservoir, the Australian black flying fox

Bats are the natural reservoir host for a range of emerging and re-emerging viruses, including SARS-like coronaviruses, Ebola viruses, henipaviruses and Rabies viruses.
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Human Papillomavirus (#HPV) #Vaccine Is Added Safeguard To ...

Human Papillomavirus (#HPV) #Vaccine Is Added Safeguard To ... | Virology and Bioinformatics from Virology.ca | Scoop.it
The human papillomavirus (HPV) can be linked to 99% of cervical cancers, and the vaccine to prevent this virus is a huge safeguard against contracting.

Via anarchic_teapot
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HIV quad pill 'may improve care'

HIV quad pill 'may improve care' | Virology and Bioinformatics from Virology.ca | Scoop.it
A new once-a-day pill which combines four HIV drugs into a single daily treatment is safe and effective, according to a study.
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Scooped by Jeff Habig
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New flu gene found hiding in plain sight, and affects severity of infections | Not Exactly Rocket Science | Discover Magazine

New flu gene found hiding in plain sight, and affects severity of infections | Not Exactly Rocket Science | Discover Magazine | Virology and Bioinformatics from Virology.ca | Scoop.it

"The new gene that Jagger discovered is another double-dip. It’s found in the virus’ third RNA strand, which was traditionally thought to only contain the PA gene. PA helps the virus copy its genome. Jagger first noticed something weird about the gene when he found that one part of it was incredibly similar across different flu strains. Flu evolves at a breakneck pace, so any island of constancy amid this sea of change must mean something. Jagger discovered that this conserved region contains a second gene called PA-X."

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Physics of going viral: Rate of DNA transfer from viruses to bacteria measured

Physics of going viral: Rate of DNA transfer from viruses to bacteria measured | Virology and Bioinformatics from Virology.ca | Scoop.it
Researchers have been able, for the first time, to watch viruses infecting individual bacteria by transferring their DNA, and to measure the rate at which that transfer occurs.

 

Phages are just so unbelievably COOL!  Thanks to @MicrobeTweets

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Spoonful of Medicine: Microfluidic chips offer a SMART-er way to detect flu : Spoonful of Medicine

Spoonful of Medicine: Microfluidic chips offer a SMART-er way to detect flu : Spoonful of Medicine | Virology and Bioinformatics from Virology.ca | Scoop.it
Tracking influenza outbreaks quickly and cheaply could get a whole lot easier thanks to a number of experimental devices that can accurately detect viral strains in an hour or so.
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Colonial History and Contemporary Transmission Shape the Genetic Diversity of Hepatitis C Virus Genotype 2 in Amsterdam

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Scooped by Ed Rybicki
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HIV-1 Virus-Like Particles Produced by Stably Transfected Drosophila S2 Cells: a Desirable Vaccine Component

HIV-1 Virus-Like Particles Produced by Stably Transfected Drosophila S2 Cells: a Desirable Vaccine Component | Virology and Bioinformatics from Virology.ca | Scoop.it

"The development of a successful vaccine against human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) likely requires immunogens that elicit both broadly neutralizing antibodies against envelope spikes and T cell responses that recognize multiple viral proteins. HIV-1 virus-like particles (VLP), because they display authentic envelope spikes on the particle surface, may be developed into such immunogens. However, in one way or the other current systems for HIV-1 VLP production have many limitations. To overcome these, in the present study we developed a novel strategy to produce HIV-1 VLP using stably transfected Drosophila S2 cells. We cotransfected S2 cells with plasmids encoding HIV-1 envelope, Gag, and Rev proteins and a selection marker. After stably transfected S2 clones were established, HIV-1 VLP and their immunogenicity in mice were carefully evaluated. Here, we report that HIV-1 envelope proteins are properly cleaved, glycosylated, and incorporated into VLP with Gag. The amount of VLP released into culture supernatants is comparable to those produced by insect cells infected with recombinant baculoviruses. Moreover, cryo-electron microscopy tomography revealed average 17 spikes per purified VLP, and antigenic epitopes on the spikes were recognized by the broadly neutralizing antibodies 2G12, b12, VRC01, and 4E10 but not by PG16. Finally, mice primed with DNA and boosted with VLP in the presence of CpG exhibited anti-envelope antibody responses, including ELISA-binding, neutralizing, antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity and antibody-dependent cell-mediated viral inhibition, as well as envelope and Gag-specific CD8 T cell responses. Thus, we conclude that HIV-1 VLP produced by the S2 expression system has many desirable features to be developed into a vaccine component against HIV-1."

 

Yes - and so did we, when we published on budded Gag-only VLPs made in stably transfected insect cells back in 2010 (Lynch et al., BMC Biotechnology 2010, 10:30).  But they cite us, so all's well!

HIV graphic courtesy of Russell Kightley Media

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Cell - Gut Immune Maturation Depends on Colonization with a Host-Specific Microbiota

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Corrupted Proteins Spread Disease | The Scientist

Corrupted Proteins Spread Disease | The Scientist | Virology and Bioinformatics from Virology.ca | Scoop.it

"Many neurological diseases are caused by misfolded proteins that gather in large, destructive clumps, causing neuronal degeneration. Some of these proteins can also convert normal versions into their own twisted images, thus spreading the disease throughout the brain. The classic examples are prion diseases like mad cow disease and Creutzfeld-Jacob disease (CJD). They are caused by misshapen forms of the PrP protein, which corrupts the shapes of normal PrP.

Now, new research published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that Alzheimer’s disease might work in a similar way. Its hallmarks include tangled clumps of amyloid-beta, a peptide (protein fragment) that aggregates in large plaques, which according to the new study, can seed more protein clusters, creating a wave of plaques that spreads through the brain."

 

Interesting!  As a non-specialist, I have long been struck by the apparent similarities between prion diseases and Alzheimer's - and now it has been shown that they really are similar in causation.

I just wonder how much of my brain is affected....

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Rescooped by Ed Rybicki from Virology News
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[dsRNA] Treatment for deadly bee virus promising

[dsRNA] Treatment for deadly bee virus promising | Virology and Bioinformatics from Virology.ca | Scoop.it

"There's buzz about a new treatment that could save bee populations from a deadly virus.
Researchers at the University of Manitoba have found a way to suppress the deformed-wing virus (DWV), which has had catastrophic effects on bee colonies worldwide, causing many to have crumpled or deformed wings.
Entomology PhD student Suresh Desai fed his bees double-stranded RNA, a treatment that prevented the virus from expressing itself in the host.
"It gives us a little bit of hope that we can manage this virus, because there is no control mechanism right now," he said.
The study, published online on Insect Molecular Biology on June 12, showed bees fed the double-stranded RNA in a syrup and then inoculated with the virus had a much better survival rate than those who weren't. RNA is much like DNA, but is in a single strand. It carries the genetic material of some viruses, including DWV. RNA is taken from the DWV and then converted into a double strand. When introduced in the bee, it suppresses the viral RNA."

 

I find it fascinating that the dsRNA that we as plant virologists grew to know and love in the 1980s - because it's easier to isolate from plants than ssRNA, and far more stable - has newly become so much more useful as an anti-viral therapeutic.  And you can isolate a tonne of dsRNA from virus-infected insects, too, so it's also interesting why exogenous material should be effective.

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You wanted to know: what is this virus that infects the phytoplankton? (Part One) | Expeditions, Scientific American Blog Network

The virus in question is called a coccolithovirus (fitting, since it infects coccolithophores). It’s really big (as far as viruses go) — about 160-180 nanometers in diameter. That’s about twice the size of the human flu virus. In fact, the coccolithovirus that these scientists are looking for has the largest genome of any marine virus. It has 472 genes that code for proteins. By comparison, the influenza virus only has 8 protein-coding genes.

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Getting Genetics Done: How to Stay Current in Bioinformatics/Genomics

Getting Genetics Done: How to Stay Current in Bioinformatics/Genomics | Virology and Bioinformatics from Virology.ca | Scoop.it

With so many sources of information begging for your attention, the difficulty is not necessarily finding what's interesting, but filtering out what isn't.

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Gov. Nikki Haley vetoes HPV vaccination bill aimed at middle-schoolers | The Post and Courier | Charleston SC, News, Sports, Entertainment

Gov. Nikki Haley vetoes HPV vaccination bill aimed at middle-schoolers | The Post and Courier | Charleston SC, News, Sports, Entertainment | Virology and Bioinformatics from Virology.ca | Scoop.it
postandcourier.com delivers the latest breaking news and information on the latest top stories, weather, business, entertainment, politics, and more for Charleston South Carolina.
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