The Good Side of Viruses
Description of The Good Side of Viruses
Although "virus" is the Latin for poison, viruses can have beneficial uses. Recombinant replication-defective viruses can be employed both to study the process of entry of viruses into cells and to deliver genes to cells. In the Molecular Virology group pioneering studies of the use of pseudotyped retroviruses and lentiviruses have been conducted. Indeed, the invention of alphavirus glycoprotein-pseuodtyped retroviruses has been recently recognized with a United States patent (U.S. Patent 7,033,595).
The recombinant viruses created in the Molecular Virology group have been used to confirm that alphaviruses enter through acidified endosomes and to investigate the targeting of alphavirus-glycoprotein-pseudotyped lentiviruses to liver and brain glial cells. Collaborative studies of the Ebola virus glycoprotein have provided support for the concept that Ebola virus and bird retroviruses had a common evolutionary origin and for the potential use of filoviral glycoprotein pseudotyped viruses as potential gene-deliver vectors for treatment of cystic fibrosis. These studies have also supplied critical data on the identification of residues involved in the various steps entry of the Ebola virus. Earlier studies have resulted in the creation of an Ebola virus glycoprotein with enhanced entry capacities that is widely employed in the Ebola virus field and have suggested a means by which the Ebola virus can evade the humoral immune response.
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