Biologists learn structure, mechanism of powerful 'molecular motor' in virus

Uploaded by PurdueUniversity on 22.01.2009

>>Purdue researchers have discovered the workings
of a powerful molecular motor that packages DNA
into the head of certain viruses.
Distinguished Professor,
Biological Scientist Michael Rossmann says the discovery
could help Science better understand how parasitic virus'
replicate, most importantly in human hosts.
>>Michael Rossmann: Well there's life cycle
through which a virus has to go, it infects a cell,
thereby it has to enter the cell and it has to take
over the machine of the cell to replicate
and re-synthesize itself, reassemble and then it has
to leave the host cell and find a way , by means of lector
or another animal, another organism to go to the next cell
or thing it wants to infect.
>>The T4 virus Rossmann studied in collaboration
with Catholic University researchers reproduces
by infecting E. coli bacteria.
Better understanding this process could help fight drug
resistant bacteria that have become immune to antibiotics.
>>But bacteriophages
like T4 are completely alternative way of dealing
with killing unwanted bacteria because the T4,
the virus works by, it uses bacteria and can kill bacteria
in its process of reproduction.
>>Other viruses such as human herpes likely have molecular
motors similar to T4.
Rossmann's findings could help scientist design drugs
that interfere with the viral motors
and thus slow the spread of disease.
>>We now can look at other parts of the virus,
how does the virus infect cells?
We can look at any virus with greater success.
We have established how the motor seems to work,
but there's never, when you answer one question,
there's usually many more questions to answer.
>>The motors Rossmann researches are
up to one hundred million times smaller than a car engine,
but on scale far more powerful.
He's able to depict his findings
with computer animations generated
by the Seyet Corporation at Purdue Research Park.
Rossmanns hopes continued research
into these motors will help create methods
to deliver genetic materials to patients in gene therapy
or develop tiny nano motors in future machine.
I'm at Purdue University, I'm Jim Shank.