First computational reconstruction of a virus in its biological entirety – ScienceDaily

First computational reconstruction of a virus in its biological entirety – ScienceDaily

First computational reconstruction of a virus in its biological entirety – ScienceDaily

A researcher at Aston University has created the first computerized reconstruction of a virus, including its complete native genome.

While other researchers have created similar reconstructions, this is the first to replicate the exact chemistry and 3D structure of a ‘live’ virus.

The discovery could pave the way for research into an alternative to antibiotics, reducing the threat of antibacterial resistance.

The search Reconstruction and validation of the whole genome virus model from mixed resolution cryo-EM density by Dr. Dmitry Nerukh, Department of Mathematics, Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, Aston University is featured in the journal Faraday Discussions.

The research was conducted using existing data of virus structures measured by cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) and computer modeling which took almost three years, despite the use of supercomputers in the UK and Japan.

The discovery will pave the way for biologists to investigate biological processes that currently cannot be fully examined because the genome is missing from the virus model.

This includes figuring out how a bacteriophage, which is a type of virus that infects bacteria, kills a specific disease-causing bacteria.

At the moment, it’s not known how this happens, but this new method of creating more accurate models will open up new research into using bacteriophages to kill potentially fatal bacteria.

This could lead to more targeted treatment of diseases that are currently treated by antibiotics and therefore help address the growing threat of antibiotic resistance to humans.

Nerukh said: “Until now, no one else has been able to build a native genome model of an entire virus at such a detailed (atomistic) level.

“The ability to study the genome within a virus more clearly is incredibly important. Without the genome, it’s impossible to know exactly how a bacteriophage infects a bacterium.

“This development will now allow virologists to answer questions they previously could not answer.

“This could lead to targeted treatments to kill bacteria that are dangerous to humans and reduce the global problem of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which is becoming increasingly serious over time.”

The team’s approach to modeling has many other potential applications. One is the creation of computational reconstructions to aid cryo-electron microscopy – a technique used to examine life forms cooled to an extreme temperature.

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