Duke University researchers have developed a microscopy method that captures
The video shows a tiny virus particle, inthousands of times smaller than a grain of sand as it swings and moves through the densely packed cells of the human gut. For a short time, the virus comes into contact with the cell and glides over its surface, but does not stick and bounces off again.
To create the video, the researchers useda method they called 3D Tracking and Imaging Microscopy (3D-TrIm). This approach combines two microscopes in one. The first "fixes" on a fast-moving virus, sweeping the laser around the virus tens of thousands of times per second to calculate and update its position. As the virus bounces and tumbles in the cell's liquid shell, the microscope constantly adjusts to keep it in focus.
Visualization of the trajectory of the virus in the intercellular environment. Video: Courtney Johnson et al., Nature Methods
While the first microscope tracksvirus, the second microscope makes three-dimensional images of the surrounding cells. The researchers compare the finished result with electronic maps: they show not only the current location of the car while driving, but also the terrain, landmarks and general relief.
The researchers note that while the method hasrestrictions. One cannot, for example, simply observe how a healthy person inhales virus particles when an infected person coughs or sneezes. For imaging, researchers must attach a special fluorescent label to the virus, which will be monitored by a microscope. In addition, for now, the virus can only be controlled for a few minutes before it disappears.
Visualization of viruses. Video: Courtesy of the Welsher lab, Duke University
However, scientists hope to understand howIn this way, viruses overcome the protective barriers of cells and mucus that line the respiratory tract and intestines - one of the body's first lines of defense against infection.
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