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Virus builds tissue scaffold

  January 19/26, 2009
Get genetically-modified, bacteria-infecting viruses to act like a liquid crystal and you could have a way to treat spinal cord injuries.

The M13 bacteriophage is genetically modified to have sell-signaling peptides covering its surface. The nanorod-shaped viruses can line themselves like liquid crystals, forming scaffolds to support tissue engineering.

The virus tissue scaffolds support neural progenitor cells, which proliferate and differentiate into nerve cells that orient in the direction of the scaffold.

The scaffolds could be used to regenerate nerve tissue to treat spinal cord injuries.

Research paper:
Genetically Engineered Nanofiber-Like Viruses For Tissue Regenerating Materials
Nano Letters, published online January 13, 2009

Researcher's homepage:
Seung-Wuk Lee

Related stories and briefs:
Viruses make tech materials -- related research

Back to TRN January 19/26, 2009

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