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Review

Multiscale Electron Microscopy for the Study of Viral Replication Organelles

Section Electron Microscopy, Department of Cell and Chemical Biology, Leiden University Medical Center, 2300 RC Leiden, The Netherlands
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Academic Editor: Cristina Risco
Viruses 2021, 13(2), 197; https://doi.org/10.3390/v13020197
Received: 24 December 2020 / Revised: 22 January 2021 / Accepted: 25 January 2021 / Published: 28 January 2021
During infection with positive-strand RNA viruses, viral RNA synthesis associates with modified intracellular membranes that form unique and captivating structures in the cytoplasm of the infected cell. These viral replication organelles (ROs) play a key role in the replicative cycle of important human pathogens like coronaviruses, enteroviruses, or flaviviruses. From their discovery to date, progress in our understanding of viral ROs has closely followed new developments in electron microscopy (EM). This review gives a chronological account of this progress and an introduction to the different EM techniques that enabled it. With an ample repertoire of imaging modalities, EM is nowadays a versatile technique that provides structural and functional information at a wide range of scales. Together with well-established approaches like electron tomography or labeling methods, we examine more recent developments, such as volume scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and in situ cryotomography, which are only beginning to be applied to the study of viral ROs. We also highlight the first cryotomography analyses of viral ROs, which have led to the discovery of macromolecular complexes that may serve as RO channels that control the export of newly-made viral RNA. These studies are key first steps towards elucidating the macromolecular complexity of viral ROs. View Full-Text
Keywords: positive-strand RNA viruses; virus–host interaction; electron tomography; blockface imaging; volume SEM; in situ cryotomography; double-membrane vesicles; invaginated spherules; coronaviruses; nodaviruses positive-strand RNA viruses; virus–host interaction; electron tomography; blockface imaging; volume SEM; in situ cryotomography; double-membrane vesicles; invaginated spherules; coronaviruses; nodaviruses
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MDPI and ACS Style

Wolff, G.; Bárcena, M. Multiscale Electron Microscopy for the Study of Viral Replication Organelles. Viruses 2021, 13, 197. https://doi.org/10.3390/v13020197

AMA Style

Wolff G, Bárcena M. Multiscale Electron Microscopy for the Study of Viral Replication Organelles. Viruses. 2021; 13(2):197. https://doi.org/10.3390/v13020197

Chicago/Turabian Style

Wolff, Georg, and Montserrat Bárcena. 2021. "Multiscale Electron Microscopy for the Study of Viral Replication Organelles" Viruses 13, no. 2: 197. https://doi.org/10.3390/v13020197

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