By Dr Zara Kassam (Drug Target Review):

A team of scientists have used a novel live-cell fluorescent imaging system that has allowed them for the first time to identify individual particles associated with HIV.

The researchers at Northwestern Medicine were able to monitor how the HIV capsid uncoats in the cell at the individual particle level. They demonstrated that uncoating leading to infection occurs early in the cytoplasm, around 30 minutes after cell fusion. The finding is just one example of novel discoveries about HIV that might now be possible with the imaging system.

“Being able to connect infectivity of individual particles and how they behave in the cell to infection — which is what we really care about — is going to have a big impact on the field,” said principal investigator Dr Thomas Hope, Professor of Cell and Molecular Biology “The system can now be used to resolve other controversies in HIV biology and to determine which potential targets for drug development are most relevant.”

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