Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

Now in our 7th year of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science every day

04 March 2014

HIV in Action

When HIV enters the body, it heads first to the gut-associated lymphoid tissue – part of the digestive tract that harbours a high concentration of target immune cells. There, the virus attacks CD4 T cells – whose job it is to sound the alarm to other immune cells – and all but wipes them out before CD4 T-cell counts noticeably drop in the blood or lymph nodes. Now, researchers have used 3D electron microscopy to capture detailed footage of how the infection plays out in the guts of mice whose immune systems contain mostly human lymphoid cells. The video shows HIV particles, known as virions (blue), budding off from host cells and accumulating in pools between cells, biding their time before they infect other cells. This discovery raises the prospect of using antibodies to target these ‘free’ virions to fight the spread of HIV where it begins, in the gut.

Written by Daniel Cossins

Search The Archive

Submit An Image

What is BPoD?

BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

Read More

BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.