HIV–the Movie

The video show how viruses actually transmit

When you’re planning your next date night, one film you might want to hold off on is a new video from Yale University that shows viruses, like HIV, reproducing and infecting neighboring cells.

The silent videos show viral activity within cells reproducing and spreading.

Retroviruses – such as HIV and leukemia -- that are within cells are transmitted more easily when they are next to uninfected cells than if they are floating free in the bloodstream, according to a news release from Yale University.

“Cell-to-cell transmission is a thousand times more efficient, which is why diseases such as AIDS are so successful and so deadly,” Walther Mothes, associate professor of microbial pathogenesis at the Yale School of Medicine, said. “And because the retroviruses are already in cells, they are out of reach of the immune system.”

The film uses 4D images to show retroviruses transmitting cell-to-cell, according to the article, “Assembly of the Murine Leukemia Virus Is Directed towards Sites of Cell–Cell Contact,” published in the Public Library of Science.  

Scientists hope the process captured on film contributes to the understanding spread of diseases including leukemia and AIDS.

The Yale team discovered that infected cells can specifically produce viruses at the point of contact between cells, the scientists report in the July 27 edition of the open access journal PLoS Biology.

“We are just opening the door to this whole process,” Mothes said. “It is a black box, and many, many cellular factors have to be involved in making this happen. Our hope is that somewhere down the road we will have a completely new anti-viral strategy based on targeting cell-to-cell transmission.”

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