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Institute of Immunology (IfI)

Laboratory for Immunology and Molecular Biology of positive strand RNA Viruses

The laboratory for immunology and molecular biology of positive strand RNA viruses is engaged in research on pestiviruses and caliciviruses. We investigate the biochemical basis of viral replication and the molecular mechanisms that the viruses use for interaction with the hosts immune system. The results of this work provide a basis for the establishment of virus mutants with altered replication characteristics or impaired ability to interfere with the immune system of the host. The mutants are characterized in detail to better understand the underlying mechanisms and to generate attenuated virus variants that could be used as vaccines. Analysis of the genetic stability of the introduced mutations are conducted to learn more about the potential for reversion and, in consequence, the safety of genetically modified viruses.

Pestiviruses

Classical swine fever virus, bovine viral diarrhea virus

  • molecular basis of virus cytopathogenicity
  • identification of virulence markers
  • analysis of immune modulating mechanisms in the context of pestivirus infections in the natural host
  • basic features of the viral replication and gene expression
Caliciviruses

Rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus, feline calicivirus

  • analysis of genome organisation
  • investigation of the viral polyprotein processing
  • studies on the initiation of translation of calicivirus RNA
  • basic features of the viral replication and gene expression
  • Evaluation of dossiers in the context of proposals for the deliberate release of genetically modified organisms that are to be used with animals