Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

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Pathogenic RNA viruses

Host factors supporting the replication of pathogenic RNA viruses (financed by DFG)

Within the infected host cell, most viruses recruit cellular proteins that support the viral replication process. The molecular mechanisms underlying this 'host factor support' are often poorly understood. Investigating different examples of human and animal pathogenic RNA viruses (hepatitis C virus, west nile virus, bovine viral diarrhea virus), we identified a very interesting group of host factors. These are different species of RNA binding proteins (Rbps), which, within the cell, modulate the expression of mRNAs on the post-transcriptional level. Importantly, the Rbps were shown to support the replication of RNA viruses by functioning as 'RNA chaperones'. That is, the Rpbs apparently restructure the viral RNA genomes in such a way that the viral replication machinery may operate on the viral RNA genomes in a more effective way. The aims of our current projects involve gaining a better understanding of the exact modes of activity of these proteins and to unravel yet unknown mechanisms of viral replication and –pathogenesis.

Principle investigator 1: Dr. Susann Friedrich

Principle investigator 2: PD Dr. Ralph Peter Golbik

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