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Papers of the Week

2022 Dec 17




Nanomechanical and Vibrational Signature of Chikungunya Viral Particles.


Cardoso-Lima R, Filho J F S D, de Araujo Dorneles M L, Gaspar R S, Souza P F N, Costa Dos Santos C, Rosa D S, Santos-Oliveira R, Alencar L M R
Viruses. 2022 Dec 17; 14(12).
PMID: 36560825.


Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) belongs to the genus Alphaviridae, with a single-stranded positive-sense RNA genome of 11.8 kbp encoding a polyprotein that generates both non-structural proteins and structural proteins. The virus is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti and A. albopictus mosquitoes, depending on the location. CHIKV infection leads to dengue-like musculoskeletal symptoms and has been responsible for several outbreaks worldwide since its discovery in 1952. Patients often experience fever, headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, and skin rashes. However, the ultrastructural and mechanical properties of CHIKV have not been fully characterized. Thus, this study aims to apply a physical approach to investigate CHIKV's ultrastructural morphology and mechanical properties, using atomic force microscopy and Raman spectroscopy as the main tools. Using nanomechanical assays of AFM and a gold nanoparticles substrate for Raman signal enhancement, we explored the conformational plasticity, morphology, vibrational signature, and nanomechanical properties of the chikungunya virus, providing new information on its ultrastructure at the nanoscale and offering a novel understanding of the virus' behavior upon mechanical disruptions besides its molecular composition.