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NEWS & VIEWS NATURE|Vol 441|15 June 2006 A drawback of the Zhu et al. study, and of

Summary: NEWS & VIEWS NATURE|Vol 441|15 June 2006
A drawback of the Zhu et al. study, and of
biophysical studies of HIV generally, should be
noted. Under typical experimental conditions,
most HIV particles are either not infectious or
very slow to infect, and electron microscopy
cannot distinguish between infectious and
non-infectious particles. It could be that the
only virus particles that do effectively infect
are those with the highest number of spikes
(up to 35 spikes per particle are described by
Zhu et al.) and/or those particles with particu-
lar clustering patterns that are rarely seen.
Nonetheless, Zhu et al. provide some stun-
ning images, particularly those of a tripod
shape where a head composed mostly of three
gp120 molecules balances on three gp41 legs,
deduced by averaging data from a large num-
ber of SIV spikes. The image is not unlike


Source: Ajayan, Pulickel M. - Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, Rice University
Aksay, Ilhan A. - Department of Chemical Engineering, Princeton University


Collections: Materials Science