Virus entry into cells: host protein networks guiding virus infection and how we can block them
It is assumed that there are more viruses on this planet than stars in the observable universe. Some of these viruses can infect humans and cause disease. For many viruses we know little about how they infect human cells, but also cells of other organisms, in which the viruses can silently reside. Our work aims at understanding at a molecular level, how viruses can get access to cells. This ‘cell entry’ is a prerequisite for viruses to multiply and to cause disease. Therefore, a better understanding of the virus entry process is a first step towards developing therapeutic strategies to combat diseases caused by viruses.
Our work primarily focuses on viruses of the Flaviviridaeand Togaviridaefamilies. Prominent members of these families are hepatitis C virus, Zika virus and Chikungunya virus. Viruses of these two families can cause pathologies ranging from arthritis to hepatitis, encephalitis and microcephaly.
The methods we apply are state of the art quantitative proteomics in conjunction with RNA interference, CRISPR/Cas9 knockout techniques, pharmacological perturbation and in vitroinfection assays. This allows us to understand the interplay of important cellular molecules, called proteins, during the virus entry process.
Our work is highly collaborative with tight connections to national and international experts in virology as well as high resolution mass spectrometry. The current projects are funded by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg foundation, the Kempe foundation and Umeå University. Please also visit our Twitter account (https://twitter.com/GeroldLab) and the website of our second branch in Germany (www.twincore.de/en/gerold), with which we work closely together.