Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Camel Aid
20 January 2013

Camel Aid

Today’s 2013 camel wrestling championships in Selçuk, Turkey will see the humped quadrupeds face-off in a battle of strength and power. And they’re engaged in another fight too – against HIV, albeit indirectly. Deciphering how HIV goes about its destructive deeds would be made much easier if scientists could watch the process unfurl. Now, uniquely useful camelid antibodies have made this possible. By fusing antibodies that latch onto one element of the HIV-forming machinery with a green fluorescent protein, cells will be seen glowing – under a special microscope – wherever the virus is forming. This image, a composite of 120 thin slices through a cell, shows virus particles (green) assembling around the cell’s surface. With help from camels and their kin to visualise HIV’s activity in living cells researchers could be closer to striking the knockout blow against HIV/AIDS.

Written by Anthony Lewis

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