Finding the Best Fit: Bayesian Statistics Meets Geometry

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Guest Commentary by Dr. Martyn Rittman

A common problem faced in research is when a set of data has been collected on the one hand, and a theoretical model (a set of equations with input parameters) exists on the other. We want to know firstly, whether the model describes the data well and secondly, what variables of the model give the best possible fit.

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In Silico Docking of Bolinaquinone at Clathrin Terminal Domain

Guest Commentary by Derek McPhee

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Endocytosis is a fundamental process that delivers macromolecules located outside the cell or on the cell membrane to the cytoplasm. It is a necessary process for nutrients to reach the cell, and for regulation of numerous transmembrane receptors. Of the various ways whereby cargo can access the cytoplasm, one of the most researched is the so called clathrin-dependent endocytosis, whose mechanism is relatively well understood. Membrane fragments, along with their contents, enter the cell as vesicles coated with clathrin species. This activity is not only key to the survival and normal functioning of eukaryotic cells, but has also been associated with a variety of pathological states, such as the access of pathogens like virus and bacteria to the cell interior, a number of cancers and other conditions.

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HCMV Vaccine Development Targets Immunomodulatory Proteins

Guest Commentary by Anamaris Colberg-Poley*

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Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) can cause severe disease in immunocompromised individuals and in congenitally infected infants, thus the development of an HCMV vaccine has been a national priority over the last few decades.  Despite attempts similar to those which have proven successful for other herpesviruses, such as varicella zoster virus, attenuated HCMV vaccine strains (such as Towne) have not been analogously successful as effective HCMV vaccines. Continue reading

Towards Therapeutic Use of Antimicrobial Peptides: Conferring Cell Selectivity by Introducing Specificity Determinants

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Guest Commentary by Guangshun Wang*

We are living in an era of antibiotic resistance; fortunately, there is widespread recognition of the consequences of this dilemma. While scientists have long been fascinated by the impressive diversity of antimicrobial peptides (also called host defense peptides) that exist in bacteria, protozoa, fungi, plants, and animals, there is a current urgency to explore novel strategies to make use of these compounds as therapeutic antimicrobials. However, while these peptides can exhibit a broad spectrum of antimicrobial activity, their potential toxicity in systemic administration has represented a significant challenge for medicinal use.  Continue reading

Monoclonal Antibody to HCMV Glycoprotein B Blocks Viral Entry and Growth in Trophoblast Progenitor Cells

Guest Commentary by Anamaris Colberg-Poley*

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Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is the major cause of congenital birth infections in developed countries.  HCMV can cause severe birth defects including microcephaly, mental retardation, sensorineural hearing loss, and intrauterine growth restriction. However, because of the potential for teratogenicity and toxic effects, no therapeutic treatment is currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration for congenital HCMV infection. The studies by Lenore Pereira and her colleagues (Zydek et al., 2014.  Viruses  Special Issue on Recent CMV Research) have significant implications for developing therapies for treatment of congenital HCMV infections, which are seriously lacking at this time. Continue reading