Web Zap*Germs Archive

September 01, 2004

Amazing Video Shows Viruses on the Attack

Virologists in the U.S. and Russia have used microphotography to assemble a surprsingly vivid movie showing how a virus (the bacteriophage T4, in this case) actually penetrates the cell wall of a bacterium cell (E. coli, in this case) in order to reproduce itself and destroy the bacterium. The U.S. National Science Foundation, which provided partial funding for the research, offers good detail on the project as well as a link to the video. Here's a more direct link to the video.

According to an AP/Yahoo News article on the video, "normally restrained microbiologist[s]...burst into applause when the film was shown at two recent scientific gatherings." University of Iowa microbiologist Michael Feiss called the movie "creepy."

The knowledge conveyed by the video "could help researchers working to make new drugs to prevent deadly viruses from infecting humans, said one of the study's authors, Michael Rossmann, a Purdue professor of biological sciences."


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