Friday, June 1, 2012

Virus Hijacks Mitochodria

This is a short interpretation of a paper I (sort of) read yesterday (I skipped around a lot and read the short version of it on another web site).
"To spread, nervous system viruses sabotage cell, hijack transportation" by Morgan Kelly,
So here is the crux of the study:
  • Virus floods the mitochodria with calcium
  • Mitochodria stop moving and release one of its transport proteins to virus
  • Virus can now move using the stolen transport protein to invade nervous system
  • Mitochodria are frozen in place since they can no longer move due to missing transport protein
WARNING:  This study was only done in rats with only the herpes simplex virus (HSV-1) so it is too early to tell if this happens with other viruses.  However, this would explain a lot of the mitochodria dysfunction seen in CFS.  The author even suggests this might be the mechanism occurring in polio and West Nile.

Some cool pics/vids to help explain this:

Harvard has two amazing vids that are animations of what goes on inside cells.  I wish they had narration so that I knew what was what and what is going on.  However, start with "The Inner Life of the Cell" which show the assembly of the microtubule and the Kinesin-1 protein hauling a cell along the tubule.  Then, for giggles, watch "The Mitochodria" which shows a mitochodria working properly.  They actually show the lipid rafts on the mito wall that allow other cells to pass through the wall.
To see both vids you might have to click on the Mito one first, then exit, which dumps you to the page that has both vids on it.

Alternatively you can watch this vid of the animator explaining his work at a TED conference.  It has the clip of the Kinesin walking along the microtubule towards the end of the talk.

When you are done with those vids, go to the paper itself and watch the embedded vid that shows normal mito running around and then mito after viral infection.

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