Single-Virus Tracking: From Imaging Methodologies to Virological Applications

Shu-Lin Liu, Zhi-Gang Wang, Hai-Yan Xie, An-An Liu, Don C Lamb, Dai-Wen Pang
Chemical Reviews 2020 January 17
Uncovering the mechanisms of virus infection and assembly is crucial for preventing the spread of viruses and treating viral disease. The technique of single-virus tracking (SVT), also known as single-virus tracing, allows one to follow individual viruses at different parts of their life cycle and thereby provides dynamic insights into fundamental processes of viruses occurring in live cells. SVT is typically based on fluorescence imaging and reveals insights into previously unreported infection mechanisms. In this review article, we provide the readers a broad overview of the SVT technique. We first summarize recent advances in SVT, from the choice of fluorescent labels and labeling strategies to imaging implementation and analytical methodologies. We then describe representative applications in detail to elucidate how SVT serves as a valuable tool in virological research. Finally, we present our perspectives regarding the future possibilities and challenges of SVT.

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