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      Construction and Characterization of Virus-Like Particles: A Review

      Molecular Biotechnology
      Humana Press Inc
      Cloning, Expression system, Nanoparticle, Self-assembly, Vaccine, Virus

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          Over the last three decades, virus-like particles (VLPs) have evolved to become a widely accepted technology, especially in the field of vaccinology. In fact, some VLP-based vaccines are currently used as commercial medical products, and other VLP-based products are at different stages of clinical study. Several remarkable advantages have been achieved in the development of VLPs as gene therapy tools and new nanomaterials. The analysis of published data reveals that at least 110 VLPs have been constructed from viruses belonging to 35 different families. This review therefore discusses the main principles in the cloning of viral structural genes, the relevant host systems and the purification procedures that have been developed. In addition, the methods that are used to characterize the structural integrity, stability, and components, including the encapsidated nucleic acids, of newly synthesized VLPs are analyzed. Moreover, some of the modifications that are required to construct VLP-based carriers of viral origin with defined properties are discussed, and examples are provided.

          Electronic supplementary material

          The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s12033-012-9598-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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          Progress and problems with the use of viral vectors for gene therapy.

          Gene therapy has a history of controversy. Encouraging results are starting to emerge from the clinic, but questions are still being asked about the safety of this new molecular medicine. With the development of a leukaemia-like syndrome in two of the small number of patients that have been cured of a disease by gene therapy, it is timely to contemplate how far this technology has come, and how far it still has to go.
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            Glycoprotein organization of Chikungunya virus particles revealed by X-ray crystallography.

            Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is an emerging mosquito-borne alphavirus that has caused widespread outbreaks of debilitating human disease in the past five years. CHIKV invasion of susceptible cells is mediated by two viral glycoproteins, E1 and E2, which carry the main antigenic determinants and form an icosahedral shell at the virion surface. Glycoprotein E2, derived from furin cleavage of the p62 precursor into E3 and E2, is responsible for receptor binding, and E1 for membrane fusion. In the context of a concerted multidisciplinary effort to understand the biology of CHIKV, here we report the crystal structures of the precursor p62-E1 heterodimer and of the mature E3-E2-E1 glycoprotein complexes. The resulting atomic models allow the synthesis of a wealth of genetic, biochemical, immunological and electron microscopy data accumulated over the years on alphaviruses in general. This combination yields a detailed picture of the functional architecture of the 25 MDa alphavirus surface glycoprotein shell. Together with the accompanying report on the structure of the Sindbis virus E2-E1 heterodimer at acidic pH (ref. 3), this work also provides new insight into the acid-triggered conformational change on the virus particle and its inbuilt inhibition mechanism in the immature complex.
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              Is Open Access

              ViralZone: a knowledge resource to understand virus diversity

              The molecular diversity of viruses complicates the interpretation of viral genomic and proteomic data. To make sense of viral gene functions, investigators must be familiar with the virus host range, replication cycle and virion structure. Our aim is to provide a comprehensive resource bridging together textbook knowledge with genomic and proteomic sequences. ViralZone web resource (www.expasy.org/viralzone/) provides fact sheets on all known virus families/genera with easy access to sequence data. A selection of reference strains (RefStrain) provides annotated standards to circumvent the exponential increase of virus sequences. Moreover ViralZone offers a complete set of detailed and accurate virion pictures.

                Author and article information

                Mol Biotechnol
                Mol. Biotechnol
                Molecular Biotechnology
                Humana Press Inc (New York )
                24 September 2012
                : 53
                : 1
                : 92-107
                GRID grid.419210.f, Latvian Biomedical Research and Study Centre, ; Ratsupites 1, Riga, 1067 Latvia
                © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

                This article is made available via the PMC Open Access Subset for unrestricted research re-use and secondary analysis in any form or by any means with acknowledgement of the original source. These permissions are granted for the duration of the World Health Organization (WHO) declaration of COVID-19 as a global pandemic.

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                © Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

                cloning,expression system,nanoparticle,self-assembly,vaccine,virus
                cloning, expression system, nanoparticle, self-assembly, vaccine, virus


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