Break and enter

Break and enter

This article is part of Harvard Medical School continuous coverage or COVID-19.

In a first, scientists have captured on video all the steps followed by a virus when it enters and infects a living cell in real time and in three dimensions.

They achieved the feat using advanced imagery called grating light sheet microscopy as well as chemical and genetic manipulations.

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The first part of the video shown here follows a virus engineered to germinate SARS-CoV-2 spike proteins (labeled in pink) when captured on a cell surface and engulfed by a cellular compartment called the endosome. . The virus then fuses with the endosome membrane and injects its genetic material (marked in blue) inside the cell – the steps necessary to initiate a cycle of viral infection and replication.

The second part of the video shows many such viruses inside the cell. The video is approximately 4 minutes long, with snapshots taken every 4 seconds.

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