Prof Kay Grünewald
University of Oxford
Dr Konstantinos Thalassinos
University College London
Dr Jens Bosse
Heinrich Pette Institute, Leibniz-Institute for Experimental Virology
Prof Maya Topf
Birkbeck, University of London
Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is a herpes virus and distant relative of the well-known human herpesvirus 1 which causes cold sores. HCMV infection is the leading viral cause of congenital birth defects in the developed world and can be life-threatening for organ transplant recipients. HCMV has a very complex life cycle that is not well understood. An essential step during virus assembly is the recruitment of a membrane by capsids, resulting in enveloped particles inside transport vesicles.
We will study how this process, called secondary envelopment, is coordinated in time and space. We will use a novel technique to isolate specific steps during secondary envelopment and analyse them, providing high-resolution data. Computational methods will help us to use the data to make a coherent video of the process.
Our findings will provide a much more detailed understanding of this crucial step in HCMV’s life cycle.