Catching HIV 'in the act' with 3D electron microscopy

Lesley A. Earl, Jeffrey D. Lifson, Sriram Subramaniam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The development of a safe, effective vaccine to prevent HIV infection is a key step for controlling the disease on a global scale. However, many aspects of HIV biology make vaccine design problematic, including the sequence diversity and structural variability of the surface envelope glycoproteins and the poor accessibility of neutralization-sensitive epitopes on the virus. In this review, we discuss recent progress in understanding HIV in a structural context using emerging tools in 3D electron microscopy, and outline how some of these advances could be important for a better understanding of mechanisms of viral entry and for vaccine design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)397-404
Number of pages8
JournalTrends in Microbiology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2013
Externally publishedYes



  • Cryo-electron tomography
  • Focused ion beam scanning electron microscopy (FIB-SEM)
  • Ion abrasion scanning electron microscopy (IA-SEM)
  • Vaccine design
  • Virus-cell interaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Microbiology
  • Virology

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