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Institute of Diagnostic Virology (IVD)

Laboratory for Molecular Virus Characterization

Focus: neurotropic viruses

The main task of the "Laboratory for Molecular Virus Characterization" is to support the National and FAO/WOAH Reference Laboratories associated with the Institute of Diagnostic Virology with regard to the optimization of molecular biological detection systems for diagnostics as well as the in vitro and in vivo characterization of virus mutants.

The research focus of the laboratory is on neuroinvasive orthobunya and mammalian bornaviruses. Using molecular biology techniques, such as reverse-genetic systems, the viruses under investigation are specifically manipulated and subsequently characterized. For in vitro characterization, complex primary cell culture systems as well as 3D organoids will be used in addition to conventional 2D cell culture.

Infectious diseases with manifestation in the central nervous system affect humans and animals equally. Even though the corresponding infections are comparatively rare, the effects of such an infection are often devastating. Interestingly, representatives of quite different virus families can develop neurotropism. The factors controlling neuroinvasion and pathogenesis are poorly understood. Insights into the shared mechanisms of neurotropic viruses, would be essential for the development of therapeutic approaches for the treatment of different encephalitides.

The Laboratory of Molecular Biology in the IVD works in close cooperation with several other laboratories of the FLI, in particular the National Reference Laboratory for Bornavirus Infections of Animals and the National Reference Laboratory for Schmallenberg Virus.