Thursday, 09 December 2021 13:32

Soft X-ray tomography: new, fast method for investigating viral infections Featured

Viral pathogens such as the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 alter individual cell components but can provide information about how viral diseases develop. Scientists from the University of Heidelberg have found a new, powerful imaging technique: Soft X-ray Tomography (SXT). They used it to examine cell cultures from kidney and lung tissue infected with SARS-CoV-2.

With the new imaging technique, it was possible to transilluminate complete cells and map their structure in three dimensions within five to ten minutes. In addition, the researchers led by Prof. Dr. Ralf Bartenschlager from the Department of Molecular Virology at Heidelberg University Hospital and Dr. Venera Weinhardt from the Centre for Organismal Studies (COS) at Heidelberg University were able to detect accumulations of SARS-CoV-2 particles on cell surfaces and identify virus-related changes in the cell interior. This allowed them to visualize structures that may serve viral replication and spread.

Original publication:
V. Loconte, J.-H. Chen, M. Cortese, A. Ekman, M. A. Le Gros, C. Larabell, R. Bartenschlager, V. Weinhardt; "Using soft X-ray tomography for rapid whole-cell quantitative imaging of SARS-CoV-2-infected cells"; Cell Reports Methods; Vol. 1, Issue 7, 22 November 2021, 100117.

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