Viral interference with apoptosis: defining the mechanisms and effects on viral pathogenesis [ 2007 - 2009 ]

Also known as: Viral interference with cell death pathways

Research Grant

[Cite as]

Researchers: Dr Christopher Andoniou (Principal investigator) ,  Prof Mariapia Degli-Esposti Prof David Huang

Brief description Apoptosis, or programmed cell death, is an orderly process whereby unwanted or damaged cells are removed from an organism. Deregulation of apoptosis has been implicated in the development of diseases such as cancer and autoimmunity. Therefore, a precise understanding of the mechanisms controlling the initiation of apoptosis has important clinical implications. In addition to removing unwanted cells, apoptosis functions as a defence mechanism to inhibit viral replication. Hence, in order to replicate efficiently viruses have evolved means to inhibit or interfere with apoptosis. The central aim of this work is to understand how two genes encoded by murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV) inhibit apoptosis and contribute to viral replication. MCMV is used as a model for human CMV (HCMV) infection. The majority of the human population is infected with HCMV which poses no risk to healthy individuals. However, reactivation of HCMV in people who are immunosuppressed such as transplant recipients or AIDS patiens is a significant cause of mortality. The MCMV infection model has provided important insights as to how the immune system controls infection and the mechanisms utilized by viruses to circumvent these processes. The proposed studies will improve our understanding of the processes that regulate viral replication. Understanding how viruses subvert host defence mechanisms will allow us to better understand their role in causing human disease, and thus, will provide key information for the design of improved anti-viral strategies. Importantly, the type of analyses proposed here will also contribute critical insights into the normal processes that control cell survival.

Funding Amount $AUD 551,328.39

Funding Scheme NHMRC Project Grants

Notes Standard Project Grant

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