Liver-derived cell expressing green and red fluorescent proteins associated to the lipid droplets (counterstained in blue). © Gabrielle Vieyres, Twincore

Cell Biology of RNA Viruses

Plus-strand RNA viruses encompass a range of naked or enveloped viruses and are responsible for a plethora of diseases in humans, ranging from acute infections such as hemorrhagic fever (e.g. Dengue virus) to chronic life-long infections and cancer (e.g. hepatitis C virus). Yet, these viruses only have a small genome and often encode no more than a dozen of proteins. To sustain virus replication, this limited set of viral factors establishes a highly complex interaction network with the host cell, thereby hijacking relevant cell resources, while overcoming the host barriers to infection.

The junior research group Cell Biology of RNA Viruses headed by Dr. Gabrielle Vieyres aims at better understanding the reciprocal interaction between RNA viruses and their host cell. As part of the Leibniz ScienceCampus InterACt, the group is particularly interested in the function of the cell compartments induced or used by viruses to fulfill their replication cycle. Another focus of the work tackles the compartmentalization of the innate immune response to viral infections. The main goal is on one hand to characterize unifying cellular pathways and compartments hijacked by RNA virus infections and study their potential as therapeutic targets, on the other hand to better dissect the complex biology of the cell, in health and disease, using viruses as tools.