We study how viruses reshape the membranes of the cells they infect. Specifically, we study virus-induced organelles called replication complexes which are formed by positive-sense RNA viruses. This vast group of viruses cause human diseases ranging from common cold to hepatitis C and Zika.
While positive-sense RNA viruses differ from one another in many respects, they all carry out drastic rearrangements of host-cell membranes, forming membrane-bound replication complexes which serve to produce new copies of the virus genome.
Two orthogonal methods form the basis of our experimental work on replication complexes
Cryo-electron tomography of cells. This method is uniquely capable of visualising the macromolecular architecture of the interior of cells at (sub)nanometre resolution, thus enabling in situ structural biology. These studies are conducted at the world class instruments of the Umeå Core Facility Electron Microscopy (UCEM).
In vitro reconstitution using giant unilamellar vesicles (GUVs). This is a synthetic biology approach aimed at recreating membrane-localised biological processes from their individual components. Purified proteins, RNA, and synthetic model membranes (GUVs) are labelled with fluorophores, and their interactions are analysed by quantitative fluorescence microscopy conducted at the Biochemical Imaging Centre (BICU).