Tuesday, 16 February 2021 18:27

Nuevo método de obtención de imágenes celulares para comprender las infecciones virales

Microscopio de Rayos X suaves Sirius XT´s SXT-100 Microscopio de Rayos X suaves Sirius XT´s SXT-100 SiriusXT
  • El CSIC participa en el proyecto europeo CoCID, dotado con de 5,7 millones de euros, que desarrolla una nueva metodología de captación de imágenes a escala nanométrica
  • Consiste en un microscopio de rayos X de baja intensidad y de tamaño reducido que se pueda utilizar como herramienta de investigación en un laboratorio

Investigadores del Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC) en el Centro Nacional de Biotecnología participan en el proyecto europeo CoCID (Compact Cell Imaging Device), cuyo objetivo es desarrollar una nueva metodología basada en rayos X que permita obtener imágenes tridimensionales de estructuras intracelulares que ilustren los procesos de infección viral. Este Proyecto, de cuatro años de duración, cuenta con 5,7 millones de euros de financiación y se enmarca dentro de la Convocatoria Horizonte 2020 de la Comisión Europea.

“Mediante esta metodología podremos documentar cómo las estructuras celulares se ven alteradas por la infección por parte de diferentes virus, incluído el coronavirus SARS-CoV-2”, señala el investigador Pablo Gastaminza, del CNB-CSIC y participante en el consorcio. “Este es uno de los objetivos que se plantea para los próximos cuatro años. Dentro del consorcio participamos dos laboratorios que disponen del sistema de infección por SARS-COV-2 y que ya estamos generando muestras para ser visualizadas empleando esta tecnología tanto en el sincrotrón ALBA, como con el prototipo de SyriusXT, ambos participantes en el proyecto”, añade.

El proyecto CoCID busca desarrollar un microscopio de rayos X de baja intensidad o suaves, de escala mucho más reducida, que se pueda utilizar como herramienta de investigación para ayudar a los científicos a comprender el origen celular de las enfermedades.

Los grupos participantes, expertos en virología y en el campo de la microscopía, aplicaran la nueva metodología para descifrar los cambios críticos inducidos por infecciones víricas, como la covid-19, y que afectan a la morfología celular, así como los cambios que diferentes virus causantes de enfermedades en humanos producen en la célula a la que infecta. Todo ello con el objetivo de identificar posibles candidatos terapéuticos que supriman la replicación viral o las respuestas celulares de relevancia para el virus.

Entre las ventajas de este nuevo método destacan, entre otras, su tamaño y la simplificación de los procesos, ya que consiste en un microscopio de rayos X compacto.  “Hasta ahora, para visualizar las alteraciones en la morfología y distribución de los orgánulos celulares producidas por la infección del virus de la hepatitis C teníamos que realizar los experimentos de criomicroscopía de rayos X de baja intensidad en un sincrotrón. Son instalaciones con complejos de aceleradores de partículas que tienen una gran demanda de uso ya que no existen muchos en el mundo. Además, brindaría nuevas oportunidades para un uso más amplio de crio-SXM como un enfoque complementario a otras técnicas de microscopía”, añade Gastaminza.

“El potencial de la microscopía de rayos X suave es tremendo. Es como una tomografía computarizada médica, pero en lugar de un paciente, se obtienen imágenes de células individuales a nivel nanométrico”, explica Venera Weinhardt, investigadora experta en imágenes celulares del Centro de Estudios de Organismos de la Universidad de Heidelberg en Alemania y participante del consorcio. “El Proyecto CoCID ayudará a demostrar los beneficios de hacer que esta increíble tecnología esté disponible como un dispositivo de laboratorio, ubicuo en todos los laboratorios de investigación biomédica”, apunta Weinhardt.

CoCID está coordinado por el University College Dublin, en Irlanda, y cuenta con la participación del Hospital Universitario de Heidelberg y la Universidad Ruprecht-Karls-Heidelberg, en Alemania; la Universidad de Jyväskylä en Finlandia; el Centro Nacional de Biotecnología (CNB-CSIC) y el Sincrotrón Alba en España, así como de la empresa SiriusXT.

CNB-CSIC Comunicación

 

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