Recent studies indicate that differences in gut virome composition are markers of Crohn’s disease (CD). In addition, there are more and more reports of the role of membrane vesicles secreted by the gut microbiota and by human cells in this disease. Overall, there are good indications that the type and numbers of viruses and vesicles present in the intestine are indicators of the physiological state of individuals.
Yet a thorough characterization of these differences is still lacking, which is in partly due to important technical difficulties: the very small size and high diversity of viruses and vesicles makes their numeration and description very difficult.
To improve this, we propose to develop an innovative approach that relies on the coupling of interferometric microscopy (IM) and a fluorescence microscope channel. IM can quantify and give the size distribution of all nanoparticles present in complex samples, such as stool, in few minutes, while the fluorescence microscope channel enables the discrimination viruses, prokaryotic vesicles, and eukaryotic vesicles.
In addition, we will use a microfluidic device to enrich/sort in viral particles for further genomic studies.