Single Virion Tracking Microscopy for the Study of Virus Entry Processes in Live Cells and Biomimetic Platforms

  • Lakshmi NathanEmail author
  • Susan DanielEmail author
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 1215)


The most widely-used assays for studying viral entry, including infectivity, cofloatation, and cell-cell fusion assays, yield functional information but provide low resolution of individual entry steps. Structural characterization provides high-resolution conformational information, but on its own is unable to address the functional significance of these conformations. Single virion tracking microscopy techniques provide more detail on the intermediate entry steps than infection assays and more functional information than structural methods, bridging the gap between these methods. In addition, single virion approaches also provide dynamic information about the kinetics of entry processes. This chapter reviews single virion tracking techniques and describes how they can be applied to study specific virus entry steps. These techniques provide information complementary to traditional ensemble approaches. Single virion techniques may either probe virion behavior in live cells or in biomimetic platforms. Synthesizing information from ensemble, structural, and single virion techniques ultimately yields a more complete understanding of the viral entry process than can be achieved by any single method alone.


Fluorescence microscopy Virion tracking Lipid bilayer Virus entry Single virus particle Enveloped virus Non-enveloped virus Infection Membrane fusion Imaging Live cells Biomimetics Tracking 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Robert Frederick Smith School of Chemical and Biomolecular EngineeringCornell UniversityIthacaUSA

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