Molecular and cellular biology of virus-host interactions

Group leader: David J Hughes

Lecturer

Research overview

Worldwide, viral infections represent major concerns to human health and global food security. From causing 15-20% of cancers to major outbreaks such as the Ebola epidemic in 2014, their effects are far-reaching. For most viruses, vaccines and targeted therapies are not available. Even if they were, many viruses rapidly mutate and develop resistance. Therefore, they represent major biomedical challenges.

Using a multidisciplinary approach, including molecular biology, cell biology and proteomics technologies, the objective of our research is to gain a deeper understanding of virus-host interactions at a fundamental level. In doing so, we may also uncover novel therapeutic targets. The primary rationale for studying drugable cellular processes that hinder virus biology is the potential to identify therapies that viruses find harder to develop resistance to.

A major focus of the lab is to gain insights into the importance of posttranlational modifications such as acetylation and ubiquitin-like (Ubl) proteins (such as ubiquitin, NEDD8, ISG15 & SUMO) during viral infection.  As obligate intracellular pathogens, viruses are capable of rewiring cellular networks, and many have been shown to utilise these modification for their own benefit, or to antagonise their effects during the antiviral response. Therefore, a deeper understanding of their importance during viral infection may lead to the development of novel antiviral compounds. Indeed, we have recently shown NEDDylation is a viable target for the treatment of Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) malignancies, such as primary effusion lymphoma (PEL). We study a number of viruses, including herpesviruses and paramyxoviruses.

Publications

Hughes, DJ, Tiede, C, Penswick, N, A. S. Tang, A, Trinh, CH, Mendal, U, Zajac, KZ, Gaule, T, Howell, G, Edwards, TA, Duan, J, Feyfant, E, McPhereson, MJ, Tomlinson, DC & Whitehouse, A 2017, 'Generation of specific inhibitors of SUMO1- and SUMO2/3-mediated protein-protein interactions using Affimer (Adhiron) technology' Science Signaling, vol. 10, no. 505, eaaj2005. DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aaj2005
Leeming, GH, Kipar, A, Hughes, DJ, Bingle, L, Bennett, E, Moyo, NA, Tripp, RA, Bigley, AL, Bingle, CD, Sample, JT & Stewart, JP 2015, 'Gammaherpesvirus infection modulates the temporal and spatial expression of SCGB1A1 (CCSP) and BPIFA1 (SPLUNC1) in the respiratory tract' Laboratory Investigation, vol. 95, pp. 610-624. DOI: 10.1038/labinvest.2014.162

Overview

Overview header image

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. The BSRC is grateful for funding from all funding agencies including the Institutional Strategic Support Fund from the Wellcome Trust.

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.