Timestamping integrative approach to understand secondary envelopment of human cytomegalovirus


  • 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

Project summary

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.