What is Virus-like Particles (VLPs) ?

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June 5, 2024

What is Virus-like Particles (VLPs) ?

The Scientists have recently developed a novel way of generating non-infectious Nipah virus-like particles (VLPs) in the laboratory.

What is VLPs?

Virus-like particles (VLPs) are fascinating mimics of viruses. They closely resemble real viruses in structure but lack one crucial element: viral genetic material. This makes them completely safe and unable to infect cells.

tructure: VLPs are essentially hollow protein shells. These shells are formed by the self-assembly of viral structural proteins, the same proteins that make up the outer coat of a virus.

Origin: VLPs can be either naturally occurring or artificially produced. Scientists can engineer them by expressing the viral structural proteins in a cell and then letting them self-assemble.

Key Feature: Non-infectious: Since VLPs lack viral genetic material, they cannot replicate inside a host cell. This makes them fundamentally different from real viruses, which require their genetic material to hijack a cell’s machinery and reproduce.

Applications: Due to their safety and ability to mimic viruses, VLPs have emerged as powerful tools in various fields:

Vaccines: One of the most promising applications of VLPs is in vaccine development. VLPs can be engineered to display specific viral antigens (proteins that trigger the immune response) on their surface. When introduced into the body, the immune system recognizes these antigens as foreign and mounts a strong immune response. This prepares the body to fight off a future infection with the actual virus. Several vaccines, including those for Hepatitis B and HPV, already utilize VLP technology.

Drug Delivery: VLPs can be used as carriers for drugs or other therapeutic agents. Their hollow structure can be filled with medications, and their viral-like surface can be engineered to target specific cells. This targeted delivery approach has the potential to improve drug efficacy and reduce side effects.

Research Tools: VLPs are valuable tools for studying viruses. Scientists can use them to investigate viral entry mechanisms, immune responses, and develop new antiviral therapies.



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What is Virus-like Particles (VLPs) ? | Vaid ICS Institute