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TWiV 106 Letters

Christina writes:

Hi TWiV guys,

I am currently attending Florida Gulf Coast University as a biology major. I am taking molecular genetics and a virology course. I have learned that, in a eukaryotic system, histones are bound to DNA through a force attraction between the negatively charged nucleotides and positively charged histones. The disassociation of histone proteins with DNA, for either replication or transcription, is due to ubiquination, acetylation, or methylation which decreases the positive charge on the basic amino acids in the histones. Knowing this, I wonder how viral capsid proteins disassociate from viral nucleotides upon entry. Is the mechanism similar to eukaryotes or do the mechanisms differ from virus to virus? If the mechanisms differ from the eukaryotic system, what strategies do the viruses employ?

Thank you,


P.S. Looking forward to meeting you during your podcast on December 6th at our campus!

Aatila writes:

Dear Twivers,

As a Brazillian graduate student, I was very surprised to hear about the finding of vaccinia viruses in monkeys at Brazil in TWiV 95 and not finding about it in Portuguese. So I wrote to the team that made the finding, interviewed them for my blog (http://scienceblogs.com.br/rainha/2010/09/vaccinina.php) and recommended their history to the local newspapers. Fortunately, they received divulgation in local newspaper after.

I'm writing because I remember professor Racaniello asking how they came up with the idea of sampling monkeys at that point. So I asked them during our interview.

They told me that already there where records of rural workers with vaccinia at the Southeast Region of Brazil, and some old records of detection dated from 1960's at Belém, a city really far at North region. So, they knew that the virus was somehow spreading trough the country. And knew that similar viruses like cowpox and monkeypox can circulate in primates and rodents.

Also, in Tocantis, the state where they collected the samples, a big damn was being built (for the Lajeado Hydroeletric station, that appears at the episode picture) and a large region would be flooded. So, the animals had to be rescued and transported to safe ground. A good occasion for sampling.

Visiting the TWiV site to write this e-mail I saw the video of episode 96 (I'm used to download the episodes directly to my ipod). It's very funny to have the opportunity to see the show being made and see the faces of you all. TWiV gets greater every time, and I really appreciate how you can have every kind of participants at the show, from graduate students (and prof. Racaniello's son) to Nobel laureates. It's fantastic to have contact with this sort of content here at Brazil.

Keep the good work,


Donghoon writes:

Dear TWiV

I am a big fan of TWiV since I bought my iPhone4 last June. I haven't thought a Podcast can affect me this much. The iphone was a really good buy for me that is only because of TWiV. I can make a call with it as well (:-))

Anyway, I heard you introduced HTS at Episode 95. I liked Alan's explanation about HTS. I appreciate it.

The reason I am writing this email is that I wish you can advertise a program funded by the NIH, that is the MLPCN, Molecular Libraries Probe Production Center Network. http://mli.nih.gov/mli/mlpcn/

I would say this program as a "poor man's HTS", which the NIH provides all resources to screen a 300,000 compound library for YOUR ASSAY. You don't need to buy anything. Only thing you have to do is "to develop an assay which (potentially) is compatible HTS and submit it. This is a FREE service and it uses RO3 and R21 mechanism. This is open to ANYONE even to foreign institutions. The centers in the network will screen for assay providers and still assay providers receive money for doing follow-up experiment etc.. (This is cool.) The MLPCN has done more than 200 HT screenings for public domain.

The reason I bring this to your attention is this program supports "HTS for infectious target". Southern Research Institute is a specialized center in that aspect. The outcome of the screening is a "probe" which can be developed for a therapeutic candidate (for antiviral) or special compounds to see the effect of it in your assay. For example, if you submit an assay which can screen compounds inhibiting (or activating) a certain step (let say, inhibition of NP trans-location from/to nucleus), at the end of the screening, you will get (a) compounds with that activity. And you may want to utilize the compounds to study your basic science as well. The program accepts variety of assay formats such as a cell-based assay, fluorescence based or target oriented or phenotypic assay as well. There is a chemistry centers which work for SAR and lead optimization for you. Again everything is free once your assay is picked. I believe more virologists should take advantage of this program.

It would be great if you can read this to your listeners or pick the MLPCN site for "pick of the week" so more people can see the program.

I apologize for bad grammar (English is my second language) and please tailed it if you want to.

If you have a question about the program, I would be more than happy to answer it.

Best regards.


Center for Predictive Medicine For Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Disease



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