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To flag neurons that have experienced genotoxic stress, researchers developed an in vivo sensor using an adeno-associated viral vector, called PRISM. Because a cell’s DNA damage response (DDR)—which activates in response to stressors such as environmental toxins or the buildup of misfolded proteins—also responds to invading pathogens, PRISM has an easier time transfecting cells whose damage response mechanisms are preoccupied with existing DNA damage. Once inside, the virus hijacks the neuron’s DNA replication machinery, which reverts an engineered frameshift mutation in the virus and thereby prompts the production of a fluorescent protein that can be observed via microscopy.
Infographic: DNA Damage Viewed with Unprecedented Clarity
A new genetic sensor called PRISM makes use of a host cell’s DNA replication machinery to trigger fluorescence in neurons with damaged DNA.
Infographic: DNA Damage Viewed with Unprecedented Clarity
Infographic: DNA Damage Viewed with Unprecedented Clarity

A new genetic sensor called PRISM makes use of a host cell’s DNA replication machinery to trigger fluorescence in neurons with damaged DNA.

A new genetic sensor called PRISM makes use of a host cell’s DNA replication machinery to trigger fluorescence in neurons with damaged DNA.

viral vectors
Broken DNA
DNA Damage Viewed with Unprecedented Clarity
Amanda Heidt | Aug 15, 2022 | 3 min read
A new tool called PRISM draws on virus-host interactions and a DNA repair pathway to help researchers visualize how cellular stress may contribute to neurodegenerative disease.
Photo of Colin Carlson
Colin Carlson Works to Predict and Prevent Viral Spillover
Catherine Offord | Jul 18, 2022 | 3 min read
The Georgetown University biologist studies how climate change contributes to the emergence of new zoonotic threats.
How to Produce Successful Viral Vectors 
How to Produce Successful Viral Vectors
The Scientist’s Creative Services Team | 1 min read
Learn how to be successful with transfection parameters, cell culture considerations, and assessment methodology when producing viral vectors.
Sleeping mice in chambers with mosquitoes behind them on a mesh
Mosquitoes Drawn to Hosts Infected by Dengue, Zika
Patience Asanga | Jun 30, 2022 | 4 min read
Flavivirus infections alter the skin microbiome of mice to increase the production of a sweet-smelling compound that attracts the viruses’ insect vectors, a study finds.
Raccoon dog behind bars of a cage
New Preprints Further Implicate Market in Pandemic’s Origins
Natalia Mesa, PhD | Feb 28, 2022 | 4 min read
Three studies that analyzed samples from Wuhan’s Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market add to evidence that SARS-CoV-2 has zoonotic origins.
Learn how researchers develop novel vaccines with new technologies 
The Vaccine Journey: From Bench to Needle
Bio-Rad | 1 min read
Researchers build better vaccines thanks to innovative technology.
a veterinarian in a white hazmat suit holding a small pig
The Long Journey to Resolve the Origins of a Previous Pandemic
Martha Nelson | Sep 2, 2021 | 10+ min read
Dozens of researchers, including myself, worked for years to uncover that swine flu had leapt to humans from a pig in Mexico in 2009. We learned a lot about influenza evolution, pig farming, and outbreak risk along the way.
An artistic rendering of blue neurons against a white background
Participant’s Diagnosis Halts Gene Therapy Clinical Trial
Amanda Heidt | Aug 12, 2021 | 3 min read
The FDA pauses the research program on a lentivirus-based treatment for a rare neurological condition after a patient developed a bone marrow disorder that could presage leukemia.
Learn about establishing a Gene Therapy Manufacturing Strategy 
Considerations for Gene Therapy Manufacturing Strategies
Thermo Fisher Scientific | 1 min read
Discover tips for setting up and optimizing adeno-associated virus production.
Gene Therapy for Sickle Cell Not Linked to Cancer, Bluebird Finds
Lisa Winter | Mar 11, 2021 | 2 min read
Clinical trials were halted after the treatment’s vector that ferries in the healthy genetic sequence was identified in the genome of a patient’s cancer cells.
Infographic: Trans-kingdom Interactions in the Gut
Catherine Offord | Feb 1, 2021 | 1 min read
Phages interact with bacteria and eukaryotic cells in ways that researchers suspect influence mammalian health.
An immunoglobulin, also known as an antibody, floating in solution.
Shining a Light on Mass Photometry
The Scientist’s Creative Services Team and Refeyn | 3 min read
Mass photometry is an interferometric scattering-based technique offering researchers unprecedented characterization of biomolecular complexes and oligomerization in physiologically-relevant situations.
Insects Pass Antiviral Immunity to Offspring
Abby Olena, PhD | Dec 17, 2020 | 4 min read
In both Drosophila and mosquitoes, protection lasts for generations following a single maternal exposure to positive-sense single-stranded RNA viruses.
aav adeno-associated virus vector gene therapy antibody hemophilia
Thwarting AAV-Neutralizing Antibodies Could Improve Gene Therapy
Emma Yasinski | Sep 25, 2020 | 5 min read
Adeno-associated viral vectors can deliver gene therapies, but AAV-neutralizing antibodies might prevent the medicines from working.
Exosomes, microvesicles, and apoptotic bodies: The three major types of extracellular vesicle.
Extracellular Vesicles: Applications and Potential
Beckman Coulter Life Sciences | 1 min read
Explore why extracellular vesicles are attractive candidates for new therapeutic approaches.
adenovirus vector vaccine covid-19 pandemic coronavirus sars-cov-2 spike protein
Vector-Based Vaccines Come to the Fore in the COVID-19 Pandemic
Anthony King | Sep 8, 2020 | 6 min read
Adenovirus vectors deliver the genetic instructions for SARS-CoV-2 antigens directly into patients’ cells, provoking a robust immune response. But will pre-existing immunity from common colds take them down?
Dog Study Revives Concerns About Virus Used for Gene Therapy
Jef Akst | Jan 6, 2020 | 2 min read
Canines treated with an adeno-associated viral (AAV) vector showed evidence that the therapeutic DNA held within the virus can integrate into the host genome, risking the activation of oncogenes.
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Capturing Heterogeneity: How Single Cell Analysis Reshapes Health and Disease Research
The Scientist’s Creative Services Team | 1 min read
Timothy O’Sullivan and Jacob Blum will discuss how they use single cell data to understand complex biological systems.
Adeno-associated viruses
Strategies for Smuggling Gene Therapies Past the Immune System
Monique Brouillette | Jul 15, 2019 | 6 min read
Researchers are devising ways to prevent viral vectors carrying gene therapies from triggering an immune response.
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