Jian-Hua Chen, Bieke Vanslembrouck, Axel Ekman, Vesa Aho, Carolyn A. Larabell, Mark A. Le Gros, Maija Vihinen- Ranta and Venera Weinhardt

Upon infection, viruses hijack the cell machinery and remodel host cell structures to utilize them for viral proliferation. Since viruses are about a thousand times smaller than their host cells, imaging virus-host interactions at high spatial resolution is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Scouting gross cellular changes with fluorescent microscopy is only possible for well-established viruses, where fluorescent tagging is developed. Soft X-ray tomography (SXT) offers 3D imaging of entire cells without the need for chemical fixation or labelling. Here, we use full-rotation SXT to visualize entire human B cells infected by the herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1). We have mapped the temporospatial remodelling of cells during the infection and observed changes in cellular structures, such as the presence of cytoplasmic stress granules and multivesicular structures, formation of nuclear virus-induced dense bodies, and aggregates of capsids. Our results demonstrate the power of SXT imaging for scouting virus-induced changes in infected cells and understanding the orchestration of virus-host remodelling quantitatively.

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