Virus remodelling of host-cell endomembranes

Year of award: 2017


  • Dr Stephen Graham

    University of Cambridge

Project summary

Human herpesviruses cause diseases ranging from cold sores and genital herpes to birth defects and cancer. They dramatically remodel the internal membranes of infected cells to provide membrane coats for newly-assembling virus particles. These membranes wrap around the assembling particles, and their protein and lipid compositions are modified to ensure that the new particles are infectious. We recently discovered that herpesviruses may re-route delivery of specific lipids to virus membranes, and we identified a herpesvirus protein complex that is needed for the efficient physical wrapping of virus particles.

I will define the molecular mechanisms used by viruses to change the architecture and composition of intracellular membranes using high-resolution structural characterisation and biochemical and cell-based studies. I will define how herpesviruses remodel intracellular membranes to promote particle assembly.

Our findings will highlight novel host-pathogen interactions that could be targeted to develop new antivirals or improved vaccines.