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Scientists Observed the Process of Single HIV-1 Disassembly for the First Time

Through collaboration, Cui Zongqiang, researcher at Wuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Zhang Xian'en, researcher at Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and He Zhike, professor at Wuhan University, for the first time dynamically observed at real-time the sequential disassembly process of single HIV-1 virus particles in live host cells, thus revealing the sequential disassembly process and spatiotemporal mechanism of matrix protein, capsid protein and viral nucleic acid and other different components at different levels at the time of virus' invasion in cells.
The process of viral disassembly and release of genomes is a critical step of early virus invasion. Studies on disassembly will also find new ways of antiviral treatment. Nevertheless, viral disassembly is poorly understood. However, directly observing the process in living cells remains technically challenging. Approximately 0.1% of viral particles were observed to undergo a sequential disassembly process at 60 - 120 min post infection. The timing and efficiency of the disassembly were influenced by the cellular factor CypA and reverse transcription.
The findings facilitate a better understanding of the processes governing the HIV-1 lifecycle. The multicolor labeling protocol developed in this study may find many applications involving virus-host cell interactions.
The study findings have been published online on the highly influential journal ACS Nano, and the first author is Ma Yingxin, a PhD candidate. (Source: Journalist: Wen Jun; Correspondent: Wang Yihao, Hubei Daily, June 13, 2016)