Der interdisziplinäre Heidelberger Exzellenzcluster CellNetworks widmet sich lebenswissenschaftlichen Fragestellungen von der Analyse molekularer Mechanismen bis zum quantitativen Verständnis komplexer Funktionen.
Discovered in 1983, HIV has since become one of the viruses with the highest degree of investigation. These efforts yielded effective antiviral drugs, but scientists have not yet succeeded in developing a treatment that can eliminate the virus from of the human system, and a vaccine is not in sight. After three decades of intensive research, we continue to face many open questions regarding the virus.
One of the reasons we are still in the dark is the tiny structure of the virus. For example, studying dynamic events during its replication is very tricky. HIV is invisible in conventional light microscopes, and while electron microscopy at least allows us to take a close look at the virus structure, it only provides us with snapshots, not with dynamic information.
Taking advantage of the latest developments in microscopy, CellNetworks member Prof. Dr. Barbara Müller and her research group from the Department of Infectious Diseases at the Heidelberg University Hospital develop various fluorescent labeling strategies for different parts of the virus. Together with novel super-resolution and multi-color live cell imaging techniques, they open the door to fundamental insights into crucial steps the virus undergoes during its replication.