alerts us to a huge development in virology and microscopy: by using a specialized microscope that only illuminates a cell's surface, scientists at Rockefeller University have watched, in real time, hundreds of thousands of molecules coming together in a living cell to form a single particle of HIV-1
. A video is available on Rockefeller's front page
. "By zeroing in at the cell's surface, the team became the first to document the time it takes for each HIV particle, or virion, to assemble: five to six minutes. 'At first, we had no idea whether it would take milliseconds or hours,' says Jouvenet. 'We just didn't know.' 'This is the first time anyone has seen a virus particle being born,' says Bieniasz, who is an associate professor and head of the Laboratory of Retrovirology at Rockefeller and a scientist at the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center. 'Not just HIV,' he clarifies, 'any virus.'"