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Dynamic Model Visualizing the Process of Viral Plaque Formation

    Author: Boriana Marintcheva1
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    Affiliations: 1: Department of Biological Sciences, Bridgewater State University, Bridgewater, MA 02325
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • Published 03 December 2012
    • Corresponding author. Mailing address: Department of Biological Sciences, 131 Summer Street, Connant Science Building 309, Bridgewater State University, Bridgewater, MA 02325. Phone: 508-531-1729. Fax: 508-531-1785. E-mail: boriana.marintcheva@bridgew.edu.
    • Copyright © 2012 American Society for Microbiology
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2012 vol. 13 no. 2 186-187. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v13i2.432
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    Abstract:

    In Microbiology and Virology courses, viral plaques are often presented to students as the way one can visualize viruses/bacteriophages. While students generally grasp the idea that counting plaques is essentially the same as counting viruses in their sample (assuming that one virus entering the cell is sufficient for productive infection), the process of plaque formation itself remains largely obscure. Many students fail to appreciate that viral plaques are actually a “laboratory-made” phenomenon allowing us to observe and study the growth of lytic viruses. The latter often presents a challenge for the interpretation of experimental data related to viral growth and drug discovery using plaque reduction assay. The hands-on model described here creates an opportunity for students to experience the process of viral plaque formation while engaging multiple senses and creating a lasting impression.

Key Concept Ranking

Vaccinia virus
0.5588235
Plaque Assay
0.52988356
Escherichia coli
0.5051873
Petri Dish
0.4781065
Bacterial Growth
0.41196245
0.5588235

References & Citations

1. Doceul V, Hollinshead M, van der Linden L, Smith G 2010 Repulsion of superinfecting virions: a mechanism for rapid virus spread Science 327 873 876 10.1126/science.1183173 20093437 http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1183173
2. Panec M, Katz S October 2006, posting date. Plaque assay protocols. Microbe Library, American Society of Microbiology. [Online.] www.microbelibrary.org/component/resource/laboratory-test/3073-plaque-assay-protocols.
3. Shors T 2008 Understanding viruses 86 113 Jones and Bartlett Sudbury, MA
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2012-12-03
2017-08-21

Abstract:

In Microbiology and Virology courses, viral plaques are often presented to students as the way one can visualize viruses/bacteriophages. While students generally grasp the idea that counting plaques is essentially the same as counting viruses in their sample (assuming that one virus entering the cell is sufficient for productive infection), the process of plaque formation itself remains largely obscure. Many students fail to appreciate that viral plaques are actually a “laboratory-made” phenomenon allowing us to observe and study the growth of lytic viruses. The latter often presents a challenge for the interpretation of experimental data related to viral growth and drug discovery using plaque reduction assay. The hands-on model described here creates an opportunity for students to experience the process of viral plaque formation while engaging multiple senses and creating a lasting impression.

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FIGURE 1

Visualization of the process of viral plaque formation.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2012 vol. 13 no. 2 186-187. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v13i2.432
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