Wednesday, 5 January 2011

MALS detectors used in breakthrough virus research

Wyatt Technology Corporation, a leader in absolute macromolecular characterization instrumentation and software, has announced that its instruments were used in a recent landmark study that transforms the previous scientific understanding of immunity to viral diseases like the common cold, 'winter vomiting' and gastroenteritis.

The breakthrough research carried out by the United Kingdom's Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology (MRC LMB) demonstrates the ability of tripartite motif-containing 21 (TRIM21) to neutralize viral infection. Wyatt Technology's Multi-Angle Light Scattering (MALS) detectors were used to monitor the interaction between TRIM21 and Immunoglobulin G (IgG).

Viruses such as the common cold, AIDS and some forms of cancer are among the hardest diseases to treat and are adept at avoiding recognition by changing their molecular patterns. Antibodies were originally thought to only offer extracellular protection and were helpless against the virus once it had entered the cytosol of a cell. However, the new study published by the MRC LMB shows that antibodies remain attached to viruses after cell infection and provide effective antiviral immunity.

The Wyatt Technology Heleos II instrument coupled to the Wyatt Technology Optilab rEX online refractive index detector were used to identify the positive interaction between a cytosolic IgG receptor, TRIM21 and IgG.

Scientists discovered that TRIM 21 binds to antibodies with a higher affinity than any other IgG receptor in the human body and once activated begins to rapidly degrade virions in the cytosol, neutralizing the infection.

"We use light scattering in a range of projects at LMB. Much of this work targets fundamental unanswered questions in structural biology that has no obvious impact on general health and well-being. It is testament to the MRC that they continue to fund curiosity-driven research in this way. The discovery of TRIM21 and its role in immunity is an example of how such research can lead to potential applications in human health," comments co-author of the manuscript, Dr Chris Johnson.

"Wyatt Technology is definitely the leader in the field of light scattering," continues Dr Johnson. "From a performance and technical standpoint as well as from an after sales and support angle. In protein chemistry, Wyatt Technology instrumentation coupled to size exclusion chromatography is a powerful tool to determine particle mass, purity and even shape."

The paper was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) and is available online via

Wyatt Technology