Brain cells aglow after viral delivery | Science News

Support Science Journalism

Science News is a nonprofit.

Support us by subscribing now.

Science Visualized

Brain cells aglow after viral delivery

Newly identified virus could help replace faulty genes in human cells

7:00am, February 23, 2016
cross-section of a mouse brain

PACKAGE DELIVERED  The whitish dots in this micrograph are neurons called Purkinje cells in the cerebellum of a mouse. Their color is due to a gene the cells received from the virus AAV-PHP.B.

In a multivirus competition, a newcomer came out on top for its ability to transport genetic cargo to a mouse’s brain cells. The engineered virus AAV-PHP.B was best at delivering a gene that instructed Purkinje cells, the dots in the micrograph above, to take on a whitish glow. Unaffected surrounding cells in the mouse cerebellum look blue. Cargo carried by viruses like AAV-PHP.B could one day replace faulty genes in the brains of people.

AAV-PHP.B beat out other viruses including a similar one called AAV9, which is already used to get genes into the brains of mice. Genes delivered by AAV-PHP.B also showed up in the spinal cord, retina and elsewhere in the body, Benjamin Deverman of Caltech and colleagues report in the February Nature Biotechnology.

Similar competitions could uncover viruses with the ability to deliver genes to

This article is only available to Science News subscribers. Already a subscriber? Log in now.
Or subscribe today for full access.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content