University of Cambridge > > Plant Sciences Departmental Seminars > Exploiting Cowpea mosaic virus in bio- and nano-technology: 101 things to do with a plant virus

Exploiting Cowpea mosaic virus in bio- and nano-technology: 101 things to do with a plant virus

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Abstract Cowpea mosaic virus (CPMV) is a bipartite RNA plant virus which is a moderately important pathogen of legumes in tropical regions. However, its main claim to fame in recent years has been the technological uses to which it has been put. The first example of this involved the expression of short antigenic sequences (epitopes) on the surface of assembled virus particles and the demonstration that purified virions can provide protective immunity in experimental animals. Subsequent developments in the use of the virus in biotechnology have included the development of the virus as a vector for the production of whole proteins in plants, the use of virus particles carrying modified RNA molecules to validate PCR -based methods for the diagnosis of disease and the exploitation of the bipartite nature of the virus to create a combined virus vector/transgenic expression system. In terms of nanotechnology, we have made use of the fact that CPMV particles are extremely stable under a wide range of conditions to carry out a series of chemical modifications to the virus surface. These have included the introduction of both organic and organo-metallic compounds. Further we have recently demonstrated that modified virus particles can be bound to solid surfaces and used to build up multilayer structures. Such multilayer structures and a number of potential applications in the development of biosensors and nanoscale electronic devices.

This talk is part of the Plant Sciences Departmental Seminars series.

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