WIRWed 12-12-12

Week Three of What I’m Reading Wednesday! (#WIRWed, if you follow on twitter)

You may have noticed I didn’t post last week.  Well, I was elbow deep in ethics training, bloodborne pathogen training, and microscope training.  Sharing that information may have had this effect:

Not wanting to lose any of my new readers to sleep-induced workplace injuries, I decided to take a week off, but I’m back!

 

Uncanny how Jorge Cham can illustrate our lives as researchers so well (substituting thesis with proposal in the above cartoon, of course)!  As I was sharing about miRNA’s two weeks ago, I was formulating how these might be developed as an antiviral for acute infections and then I found this paper:

Great work Guo et al.!  Let me know if you want to do a collaboration!

 

Okay, so moving on, here are a couple more articles I’m reading this 12-cubed week of WIRWed:

 

I’m spending some time learning about ciliogenesis – or the development of ciliated cells.  Were you aware that every cell in our body has at least one cilia, used for motion, sensing, etc.  Cells that are multiciliated are terminally differentiated and are of importance to my research with influenza in a primary epithelial cell culture model.

 

This next article speaks to one of my first loves in virology – Hemorrhagic Fever viruses (HFV).  Okay, I’ll admit it, when I read The Hot Zone in high school, I was hooked and I forever wanted to wear a space suit and hunt for life saving monkey serum alongside Dustin Hoffman.  My dreams have matured (those suits get HOTTT inside!), but I still love HFV and studied one for my graduate thesis work.  The following article combines a new favorite topic of mine, viral immune evasion strategies.  The crystallized structure of the Marburg IFN inhibitory domain of VP35 with dsRNA is amazing!

 

That’s it for this week.  Let me know what you think of this week’s readings.  I’d love to get a conversation going!  Are you reading anything that you’d like to share?  Send a link!

WIRWed: 11-28-12

Welcome to week 2 of “What I’m Reading Wednesday” (WIRWed)!

I’ve noticed in these first couple of months of my post doc fellowship that my readings tend to take on a topical nature.  One week, I’m reading about inflammasomes.  The next week, I’m reading about interferon lambda.  This week, my focus is turned to microRNAs.  I missed some of the hype while suffering from tunnel vision during my graduate student days, so I’m doing some catch up with some reviews and then a great paper looking as small viral RNA (svRNA) produced during influenza infection.

 

First, a bit light reading, a news feature from 2007 on researchers building their case for RNAi causing increased gene expression instead of the negative regulation associated with small RNAs.  Hmm, worth following up on to see if they were able to elucidate a mechanism.

Ok, now for the real reviews:

Focus on biogenesis of small RNAs, from generation of the guide strand to complex formation.

 

miRNAs specifically encoded by viruses, with particular attention to Herpesviruses, and their targets.

Now that we are all caught up to speed and are experts on miRNAs (ha!), here are some interesting articles I found involving miRNAs and influenza.

 

This was a fascinating article!  The authors set out to determine if small viral RNAs (svRNA), similar in length to miRNA but not necessarily derived in the same manner, could help explain the mechanistic switch from production of viral mRNA to genomic vRNA.  Accumulation of svRNA coincided temporally with this switch, and treatment with complementary sequences to the svRNA demonstrated decreased genomic vRNA production and decreased virion progeny.  This opens up a possibility for broad spectrum anti-viral therapeutics that would be specific to influenza (or another virus).  Great work!

 

OK, that’s it for me today.  What are your thoughts?  I’d love to hear what you think about this last paper, using anti-svRNA as a therapeutic.  Currently, these types of treatments are being evaulated for as cancer therapeutics and against chronic viral infections (i.e. HCV).  Could it be done for an acute infection?

 

What I’m Reading Wednesday (WIRWed): 11-21-12

“What I’m Reading Wednesday” or WIRWed is a weekly post where I’ll share some of the interesting articles that I’ve come across.  As a student, I became far too focused on only those publications that directly related to my thesis work all the while missing the amazing science that was going on around me.  What I failed to understand as a student is that there is insight and inspiration to be gained by reading publications outside of your specific family of viruses, field of virology or immunology, or even field of study altogether.

So, to keep me accountable, I plan to blog once a week about the articles that I find fascinating.  They may or may not be relevant to my specific field of study.  I’ll try to vary it a bit, although, don’t be surprised to see some influenza in there (Hey!, it’s a really interesting virus!).  I’d love to hear from you as well!  Comment with links to articles that you would like to share and tell us why they captured your attention.

I’ll be enjoying these articles on a 6+ hour car ride up to New England to spend the holiday with family.  Wish me luck.  T-day traffic and two girls under 3 years old don’t mix well!

Just like her Mummy

Without further ado…

1. 

Love when an article challenges the currently accepted model and makes us all stop and think.

 

2. 

So fascinated by non-coding RNA.  It was ignored for so long as a contributing factor, overshadowed by coding RNA.

OK, here comes some influenza…

3. 

So important to recognize differences in responses amongst the various animal models we employ and carefully assign the value we place on the information we glean from them.

 

4. 

Something about the ability of viruses to thwart our every countermeasure, infecting the very cells that should be able to gobble, gobble them up and clear them.  Gets me every time.  (BTW, that gobble reference was in honor of the looming holiday!)

 

Now, its your turn.  What are you finding interesting this week?  Something new and cutting edge?  A classic?  Doing a bit of catching up in a particular field?  Let’s hear it!  Post a link to the article and your thoughts so we can all share.

 

Art of Science

I’ve often joked that I’m a major disappointment to my parents: one is a musician, the other an artist.

I’ve chosen math and science for my career path.

Sorry guys.

But, I think there is beauty and art in just about everything we do, and certainly, this job requires quite a bit of creativity.  That’s probably why I enjoy the products of cell imaging.  In this months issue of The Scientist, the article Pixel Perfect was a perfect example of this.  A year’s worth of lab imaging submissions, and 4 prize-winning images that will astound you.

Even better was the article “Alive and in Focus“, bringing my lovely viruses into the picture with breakthrough imaging techniques.  I giddily pointed out these pictures to my emergency medicine pharmacist husband:

See that honey?  The pink?  That’s vaccinia virus!

 

Cannot get over the detail presented here.

 

To get the full details, jump over to the full articles by following the links above.

Maybe I can resolve the conflict between my passion and my heritage.  Science can be art after all.