Google+ Facebook Twitter Twitter

Why viruses persist

New research suggests a mechanism that may explain how viruses that are considered acute can persist.

Products of viral infection, called defective viral genomes (DVGs), can kick off a molecular pathway that keeps infected cells alive, the researchers discovered. 

The University of Pennsylvania study, published in Nature Communications, used a novel technique to examine the presence of DVGs on a cell-by-cell basis.

Author Carolina B López said: “One of the things the field has known for a long time is that DVGs promote persistent infections in tissue culture. 

“But the question was – how do you reconcile that with the fact that they’re also very immunostimulatory? How can they help clear a virus at the same time as they promote persistence?”

DVGs are produced in infected cells when a virus begins to replicate rapidly, leading to defective versions of itself that contain large deletions. Once thought not to have any biological function, DVGs are increasingly believed to be important components ofviral infections.

Related Articles

IBMS Fellow scoops award for quality

Great Ormond Street Hospital held its annual staff awards on 14 May 2018. 

Vancomycin Resistant Enterococci Science

Unexpected detection

Deputy Lab Manager Francis Yongblah looks at unexpected detection of vancomycin-resistant enterococci as a consequence of enhanced carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae screening.


Ticking time bomb

With global mobility drastically increasing over recent years, Sally Cutler, Professor in Medical Microbiology, looks at the growing threat posed by tick-borne infections.

How to... collaborate

Stem cell scientist Loriana Vitillo explains the collaboratory Dish Life project that was presented at the launch of the Pint of Science festival, which is taking place in May.