Yale School of Medicine
Single molecule microscopy shows infamous HIV spikes in action

Using powerful microscopes, scientists have observed the weaponry of HIV in action and gained key insights that may finally allow researchers to create a vaccine capable of fighting the virus that causes AIDS. The sophisticated imaging technology employs lasers and fluorescent dyes to examine molecules 10,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair. The resulting view of the infamous protein spikes that stud the surface of HIV sheds new light on how the virus both evades and attacks key immune cells. Scientists even videotaped the structures as they changed shape in what researchers described as a rapid, unending "dance." They also observed how a class of rare,...