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Colorado Varsity Researchers Develop Biosensor That Uses Light to Track Virus in Host Cells

Image for representation.

Image for representation.

The biosensor will emit blue light when the viral translation will happen and will emit green light when normal host translation is happening.

Viruses are microbial organisms which can replicate only inside a host cell. The coronavirus, which has wreaked havoc in the world, is also a part of the same category and follows a similar multiplication pattern.

During the process of developing inside their host, viruses can cause damages to the body of the individual, making them sick.

Researchers from Colorado State University (CSU) have recently developed a biosensor which will be able to track the development of a virus inside a host cell, reports Science Daily.

The biosensor will emit blue light when the viral translation will happen and will emit green light when normal host translation is happening.

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Viruses work by hijacking the ribosomes of their host cell. During the process of translation, ribonucleic acid (RNA) is made into genetic proteins. Viruses work by forcing the ribosomes of their host cells to produce viral proteins.

The function of this biosensor is to attach those bits of virus that steal the ribosomes of the host with protein tags that will glow whenever the RNA is translated.

This research, published in Nature Structural and Molecular Biology, can prove to be a remarkable moment in understanding viral translation that happens inside the host.

The scientists involved in this research belong to the labs of professor Tim Stasevich, who is from the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and Associate Professor Brian Munsky from the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering. The research has been funded by the

National Institute of General Medicine and the W. M. Keck Foundation.

Graduate student Amanda Koch from the lab of Brian Munsky spent over a year developing this sensor while Luis Aguilera from the same team built a computational model which could visualize this sensor.

The researchers are hoping to deploy the same model in the research of Covid-19. Koch believes that their model can easily incorporate into the coronavirus positive patients to understand its unique method of translating inside the human body, which is its host cell.