Time-lapse ultrashort pulse microscopy of infection in three-dimensional versus two-dimensional culture environments reveals enhanced extra-chromosomal virus replication compartment formation. Academic Article uri icon


  • The mechanisms that enable viruses to harness cellular machinery for their own survival are primarily studied in cell lines cultured in two-dimensional (2-D) environments. However, there are increasing reports of biological differences between cells cultured in 2-D versus three-dimensional (3-D) environments. Here we report differences in host-virus interactions based on differences in culture environment. Using ultrashort pulse microscopy (UPM), a form of two-photon microscopy that utilizes sub-10-fs pulses to efficiently excite fluorophores, we have shown that de novo development of extra-chromosomal virus replication compartments (VRCs) upon murine cytomegalovirus (mCMV) infection is markedly enhanced when host cells are cultured in 3-D collagen gels versus 2-D monolayers. In addition, time-lapse imaging revealed that mCMV-induced VRCs have the capacity to grow by coalescence. This work supports the future potential of 3-D culture as a useful bridge between traditional monolayer cultures and animal models to study host-virus interactions in a more physiologically relevant environment for the development of effective anti-viral therapeutics. These advances will require broader adoption of modalities, such as UPM, to image deep within scattering tissues.

published proceedings

  • J Biomed Opt

author list (cited authors)

  • Gibbs, H. C., Sing, G., Gonzlez Armas, J. C., Campbell, C. J., Ghazal, P., & Yeh, A. T.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Gibbs, Holly C||Sing, Garwin||Gonz├ílez Armas, Juan Carlos||Campbell, Colin J||Ghazal, Peter||Yeh, Alvin T

publication date

  • March 2013