Imaging single HIV virions

Viruses are simple agents exhibiting complex reproductive mechanisms. Decades of research have provided crucial basic insights, antiviral medication and moderately successful gene therapy trials. The most infectious viral particle is, however, not always the most abundant one in a population, questioning the utility of classic ensemble-averaging virology. Indeed, viral replication is often not particularly efficient, prone to errors or containing parallel routes. In collaboration with Prof. Zeger Debeyser (KU Leuven) and Prof Hendrix (UHasselt) we have applied different single-molecule sensitive fluorescence methods to investigate viruses, one-by-one. While this collaboration is still ongoing, there is already several publications that show-case the potential of imaging single virions.

For more details, please see:

  • Borrenberghs, D., et al. (2016) Dynamic oligomerization of integrase orchestrates HIV nuclear entry, Scientific reports, 6, pages 36485 (article can be found here)
  • De Houwer, S., et al. (2014) The HIV-1 integrase mutant R263A/K264A is 2-fold defective for TRN-SR2 binding and viral nuclear import, Journal of Biological Chemistry, 289(36), pages 25351-25361 (article can be found here)
  • Borrenberghs, D., et al. (2014) THIV virions as nanoscopic test tubes for probing oligomerization of the integrase enzyme, ACS Nano, 8(4), pages 3531-3545 (article can be found here)
  • Lehmann, M., et al. (2011) Quantitative multicolor super-resolution microscopy reveals tetherin HIV-1 interaction, PLoS Pathogens, 7(12), pages e1002456 (article can be found here)