Molecular tagging of the dengue virus genome
This honours in molecular and biomedical science project involves molecular tagging of the dengue virus genome.
Dengue virus (DENV) is the most common mosquito-borne viral pathogen that infects humans. It is estimated that there are approximately 230 million DENV infections worldwide each year.
Of these approximately 500,000 infections cause dengue hemorrhagic fever, resulting in more than 20,000 deaths. There is no available vaccine or effective antiviral drugs.
In recent studies we have employed transposon-based insertion mutagenesis in an infectious DENV isolate and next-generation sequencing analysis of viable mutant virus pools to identify regions in the DENV genome and encoded proteins that may tolerate insertion of reporter proteins with minimal impact on virus replication.
In this project we will use this information to generate tagged viruses encoding insertions of specialised reporter proteins for live cell imaging, electron microscopy and proteomics applications to further understand the role of DENV proteins in the pathogenesis of disease.
Together the understanding and tools developed in this project may contribute towards development of effective antivirals that target DENV.
Study with the Viral Pathogenesis Research Laboratory
Infection of the cell with a virus results in an early innate immune response in which the cell attempts to either remove the virus or control its replication.
Our laboratory is interested in the cellular response to viral infection and genes and signaling pathways that are turned on and how viruses can overcome this response. In particular we study the Flaviviridae family of positive strand RNA viruses such as hepatitis C (HCV) dengue and Zika virus.
Using a combination of cell culture, mouse and human primary tissue models coupled with the latest genomic and biochemical approaches we aim to define the cellular response to viral infection of these medical important viruses.