Single-particle approaches to understand viral diversity

New Voices in Infection Biology - Virtual Seminar Series

  • Datum: 20.05.2020
  • Uhrzeit: 16:00
  • Vortragende(r): Michael Vahey
  • Assistant Professor - Biomedical Engineering - Washington University, St. Louis, USA
  • Ort: Zoom video conference
  • Gastgeber: Marcus Taylor
  • Kontakt:
Single-particle approaches to understand viral diversity

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Talk abstract:

Following the infection of a cell, individual particles from some RNA viruses are capable of producing large numbers of extremely diverse progeny. These progeny can vary widely in their genetic sequence as well as in their structural and molecular characteristics. Influenza A virus (IAV) is a famous example: in addition to their genetic diversity, clinical isolates of IAV adopt a filamentous morphology where particles can vary in length by over 100-fold. While the importance of genetic diversity in viral persistence and adaptation is well-established, the role of phenotypic heterogeneity – differences in the size, shape, and molecular composition of virus particles that may be otherwise genetically identical – remains unclear. Are some particles more likely than others to infect a cell, become neutralized, or activate an immune response? To address these questions and connect the characteristics of individual virus particles to functional outcomes, we use a combination of fluorescence microscopy and site-specific labeling of engineered viral strains to study viral infections at the single-particle level. In this talk, I will describe our efforts using these tools to understand how phenotypic heterogeneity in evolutionarily divergent human respiratory viruses contributes to aspects of virus replication and transmission.

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