De-constructing the Marburg virus

3-D imaging of the Marburg virus budding from infected cells

3-D imaging of the Marburg virus budding from infected cells

It doesn’t get much worse than the Marburg virus. Like its more notorious cousin Ebola, it’s a hemorragic, highly contagious animal-borne pathogen associated primarily with bats and primates.  In humans, symptoms progress quickly from chills and nausea to potentially fatal complications like internal bleeding and organ failure.  Marburg made news most recently in 2007 when a mini-outbreak was contained in Uganda’s gold mining district of Kamwenge. Studying the composition of filoviruses has proven difficult, but German scientists are closer than ever to understanding the structure thanks to sophisticated imaging techniques.  In a new paper at PLoS Biology, Tanmay Bharat and co-authors detail how cryo-electron microscopy (cryoEM) allowed for detailed study of the nucleocapsids.

Cite:

-Bharat TAM, Riches JD, Kolesnikova L, Welsch S, Krähling V, et al. (2011) Cryo-Electron Tomography of Marburg Virus Particles and Their Morphogenesis within Infected Cells. PLoS Biol 9(11): e1001196. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001196

-Smith, Tara C. Introduction to Marburg: History of Outbreaks.  http://scienceblogs.com/aetiology/2007/08/marburg.php

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