Molecular biology of influenza viruses and arenaviruses

Group leader: David Jackson

Research overview

Research in my lab is focused on two areas of molecular virology:

 

1. The molecular biology of influenza viruses. We study the molecular mechanisms behind replication of influenza viruses and their interactions with the host cell. This work is primarily based on mutant viruses created by a process known as reverse genetics in which we can create designer viruses by introducing mutations of choice. This technique allows us to i) identify and study specific virus-host interactions, such as the interaction between the influenza A virus NS1 protein and the cellular PI3-kinase; ii) to study how these viruses counteract and overcome the host cell’s immune antiviral defence mechanisms; iii) to study the molecular basis of influenza virus pathogenicity/virulence; iv) to identify potential targets for the design of future antiviral therapies.

 

2. The molecular biology of arenaviruses. Arenaviruses are emerging viruses with the potential to cause severe human disease such as haemorrhagic fever. These viruses cause chronic asymptomatic infections in their natural rodent hosts but are able to infect humans after contact with infected animals or animal excreta. The majority of arenaviruses that cause human disease are classified as Hazard Group 4 pathogens, which limits the ability to study the molecular biology of these viruses. However with no arenavirus-specific antiviral drugs available these studies are necessary. Therefore the aim of our research is to develop a model system for studying the molecular biology of pathogenic arenaviruses based on a Hazard Group 3 virus, Pirital virus, which is genetically and antigenically similar to highly virulent arenaviruses but has not as yet been implicated in causing human disease. This work will help us to understand how arenaviruses interact with their hosts at the molecular level and identify targets for future antiviral drug design.

 

 

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Publications

Vijayakrishnan, S, Loney, C , Jackson, D , Suphamungmee, W, Rixon, FJ & Bhella, D 2013, ' Cryotomography of budding influenza A virus reveals filaments with diverse morphologies that mostly do not bear a genome at their distal end ' PLoS Pathogens , vol 9, no. 6, e1003413.
Jackson, D , Elderfield, RA & Barclay, WS 2011, ' Molecular studies of influenza B virus in the reverse genetics era ' Journal of General Virology , vol 92, pp. 1-17.

Overview

Scientists associated with the thirty-two research groups that are affiliated with the Biomedical Sciences Research Complex perform highly innovative, multi-disciplinary research in eleven broad areas of biomedical research, employing state-of-the-art techniques to address key questions at the leading edge of the biomedical and biological sciences.

Follow the links on the left to view individual research groups associated with one or more of the eleven BSRC research areas.

Research areas

Scientists associated with the thirty-two research groups that are affiliated with the Biomedical Sciences Research Complex perform highly innovative, multi-disciplinary research in eleven broad areas of biomedical research, employing state-of-the-art techniques to address key questions at the leading edge of the biomedical and biological sciences.

Follow the links on the left to view individual research groups associated with one or more of the eleven BSRC research areas.

Research by academic schools

Research in the BSRC is conducted by thirty-two independent research groups based in the Schools of Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Astronomy, and Medicine. Follow the links on the left to view groups associated with each school.