TWiV 520: This old mouse

November 18, 2018

science emojiThe TWiVidae review universal influenza vaccines that are in clinical trials, and discovery of an atypical parvovirus that causes chronic kidney disease in middle aged, immunocompromised laboratory mice.

Hosts: Vincent Racaniello, Dickson Despommier, Alan DoveRich Condit,  Kathy Spindler, and Brianne Barker

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Download TWiV 520 (70 MB .mp3, 116 min)
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Links for this episode

Weekly Science Picks 1:32:54

Brianne – Nebula Genomics: a new start-up offering free genome sequencing (with a catch)
Alan – GRE scores are poor predictor of degree completion
Rich – The Science Mill (video)
DicksonThe 12 cranial nerves (mnemonic)
Kathy – NAS report on Sexual Harassment of Women (free pdf)  Iceberg figure
Vincent – The Tangled Tree by David Quammen and TWiEVO #37

Listener Pick

MarkWeekly US Map: Influenza Summary

Intro music is by Ronald Jenkees.

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3 comments on “TWiV 520: This old mouse

  1. sophia Nov 18, 2018

    Dear Vincent
    this is a message to help you increase your subscribers on youtube. I honestly don’t see a reason why you can’t reach 25,000. Neither do I believe your listeners are not subscribing because they don’t care. I just think the way you tell us is not as practical and people forget. THese are my suggestions:
    1. don’t tell people to find you on youtube with your initials. Just tell them to google your name on youtube. That’s how I found you. I could never remember what you said by the time I had to look for your channel
    2. remember that most people are listening while doing other things and are not in front of a computer so by the time the show is over they forget. why don’t you tell people to subscribe just before you say goodbye, so people remember and don’t forget? (it works!)
    3. you need to “sell” you channel. don’t just tell people to subscribe. tell them what they’re missing by not doing so. I just found out that your channel has great stuff, like the parasitic diseases lectures and virology in Spanish!
    4. why don’t you do a competition and give out something (like a TWIV mug) for everyone who subscribes by a deadline?
    5. advertise your channel on your facebook page so it comes in our feed and on your website (say, next to the patreon link) so people can SEE it and click on it before they forget
    these are my suggestions
    please do talk about the weather on TWIV. if people don’t like it they can skip and fastforward. it’s not a live show (so why are they complaining?)
    good luck!
    Sophia, Greece

  2. Hi Vincent

    You fell victim to one of the classic blunders: Mixing up University College London (UCL) and Imperial College London. They are two different Universities. The MSc course in Molecular Biology and Pathology of viruses is at Imperial College, not UCL.

    Rob (from Imperial, not UCL)

  3. Hi Twivvers

    I wanted to send a follow-up to address your skepticism about the efficacy of Acyclovir in blocking Alzheimer’s plaque formation (TWiV 519)
    First, one oddity of herpesvirus replication is that after reactivation from latency, the viral late genes (including its glycoproteins) can only be transcribed from replicated viral DNA. The evidence for this is good for gamma and beta herpesviruses, less so for alphas, where there are no really reliable latency/reactivation models.
    Second, Acyclovir inhibits all herpesviruses: they all make a thymidine kinase (an early gene product) that will activate the molecule.
    Third, at least some cases of HSV encephalitis are caused by lack of innate immune signalling (eg TLR3 or TRAF3 mutations – So maybe for most of us (who don’t have defects in innate control of herpesviruses), injecting HSV into the brain would not cause HSV encephalitis. Remember: mice lie!!
    So, to my mind, it is entirely logical that occasional HSV particles) or other herpesviruses – HHV6 or 7, or VZV) could stray into the brain without causing disease. Then, if beta amyloid becoming fibrillar is an innate response to having herpesvirus glycoproteins/capsids floating around [which was the implication of the Xandra Breakefield paper], it is entirely logical that acyclovir (which prevents late gene expression by all herpesviruses) would reduce or prevent that from happening, regardless of whether HSV or HHV6/7 is causative.