Last updated on April 16, 2014 at 13:37 EDT
Bacteriophage Epsilon15
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Bacteriophage Epsilon15

July 2, 2010
Bacteriophage Epsilon15 Shown is an image of bacteriophage Epsilon15, studied by Wen Jiang, assistant professor of biological sciences at Purdue University. The bacteriophage is shown at a resolution of 4.5 angstrom--the highest resolution ever achieved for a living organism of this size. Approximately 1 million angstroms would equal the diameter of a human hair. Jiang led a research team that included Matthew L. Baker, Joanita Jakana and Wah Chiu from Baylor College of Medicine, and Peter R. Weigele and Jonathan King from MIT, that used the emerging technique of single-particle electron cryomicroscopy to capture the 3-D image of the virus at this resolution. Knowledge of the details of the structure of a virus can provide valuable information for researchers working on developing disease treatments. If researchers can understand the system--how the virus particles assemble and how they infect a host cell--it will greatly improve their ability to design a treatment. Other methods of determining the structure could not be used for this family of virus. Also, none had been successfully crystallized before, and the complexity of members of this family had prevented evaluation through the genome sequence alone. This research was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation (grants IIS 07-05474 and IIS 07-05644). To learn more about this research, see Purdue University news release, "New technique takes a big step in examination of small structures." (Date of Image: September 2007)