Laboratory for Asfarviruses
Institute of Molecular Biology
- Bovine herpesvirus type 1 (BoHV-1) an alphaherpesvirus
- African swine fever virus (ASFV), only member of the Asfarviridae
- Autographa californica multicapsid nucleopolyhedrovirus (AcMNPV), belongs to the Baculoviridae
- Virus X, a so far unknown virus isolated from Greek tortoises
- Construction of plasmid- and virus-based expression vectors for functional analysis of cellular and viral proteins and for development of novel vaccines and safe diagnostics
- Analysis of early events during infection of cells with African swine fever virus, the hitherto only member of the Asfarviridae
- Characterization of bovine herpesvirus type 1 encoded proteins which might be involved in signal transduction pathways
- Identification of unknown viruses
Construction of plasmid- and virus-based expression vectors for functional analysis of cellular and viral proteins and for development of novel vaccines and safe diagnostics
The latter includes generation of recombinants of bovine herpesvirus 1 (BoHV-1) which are pseudotyped with antigens from BSL3 or BSL4 pathogens. These BSL 2 recombinants can be used for determination of neutralizing serum antibodies against pathogens of humans and animals which can only be handled under BSL3 or BSL 4 conditions. Basis for the generation of these recombinants is a novel protein expression strategy which uses glycoprotein B of BoHV-1 as transporter to incorporate foreign proteins into the viral envelope. Applicability of this approach was shown by construction of a recombinant which carries the HA1 subunit of HPAIV H5N1 (Vietnam) in the envelope of viral particles. Regarding development of novel vaccines, we currently study whether G proteins from rhabdoviruses other than vesicular stomatitis virus can be used to improve in-vivo gene transfer efficacy of recombinant baculoviruses containing vertebrate cell-active expression cassettes, so called BacMam viruses.
Analysis of early events during infection of cells with African swine fever virus, the hitherto only member of the Asfarviridae
Our goal is to identify and enhance the amount of replicative genomic intermediates to facilitate cloning of the ASFV genome as bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC). In addition, we try to establish a new strategy for sequencing of ASFV genomes which is independent from purified virions and pure viral DNA, and is based on long (>20 kbp) PCR fragments which are pooled and sequenced using 454 technology.
Characterization of bovine herpesvirus type 1 encoded proteins which might be involved in signal transduction pathways
We currently stude pUS3, a protein kinase conserved among the alphaherpesviruses. Pseudorabies Virus pUS3 or herpes simplex virus pUS3 plays a role in inhibition of controlled cell death (apoptosis). BoHV-1 pUS3 does not exhibit this activity. The analyses to elucidate the functions of this protein and experiments to identify cellular proteins that interact with pUS3 are performed using tagged wild type and mutated pUS3 variants expressed after BacMam technology mediated transduction.
Identification of unknown viruses
A protocol was developed which is based on nonspecific PCR reactions. Using this novel protocol we recently identified a virus from Greek tortoises as picornavirus of a new genus.