Surface Labeling of Enveloped Viruses Assisted by Host Cells

Labeling of virus opens new pathways for the understanding of viruses themselves and facilitates the utilization of viruses in modern biology, medicine, and materials. Based on the characteristic that viruses hijack their host cellular machineries to survive and reproduce themselves, a host-cell-assisted strategy is proposed to label enveloped viruses. By simply feeding Vero cells with commercial 1,2-dioleoyl-<i>sn</i>-glycero-3-phosphoethanolamine-<i>N</i>-(cap biotinyl) (sodium salt) (Biotin-Cap-PE), we obtained biotinylated Vero cells whose membrane systems were modified with biotin. Subsequently, pseudorabies viruses (PrV) were cultivated in the biotinylated Vero cells, and the PrV progenies were spontaneously labeled with Biotin-Cap-PE during viral natural assembly process. Since the viral natural assembly process was employed for the labeling, potential threats of genetic engineering and difficulties in keeping viral natural bioactivity were avoided. Importantly, this labeling strategy for enveloped virus greatly reduces the technical complexity and allows researchers from different backgrounds to apply it for their specified demands.