The nidovirus order contains a range of important virus families that cause both large economic impacts on farming industries and impact human health, most notably the coronaviruses. The Nidovirus-cell interactions group, led by Dr Helena Maier, studies molecular interactions between coronaviruses and their host cells, using a comparative approach to identify interactions conserved across the family.
The overall aim of the group is to identify critical virus-host cell interactions that are conserved among coronaviruses, ultimately allowing for development of novel approaches for vaccine attenuation or development of pan-antiviral therapeutics. Our work currently focusses on understanding cellular replication of the avian coronavirus infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) and the porcine coronavirus, porcine deltacoronavirus (PDCoV). The group has a particular focus on characterising virus induced replication organelles, understanding the process of viral envelopment and identifying cellular proteins that are important for virus replication.
- Identification of the site of coronavirus RNA synthesis and cellular proteins involved in replication organelle formation and function (BBSRC-funded post-doc, Nicole Doyle)
- Understanding the control of host cell translation by IBV (PhD, Matthew Brownsword)
- Identification of cellular proteins required for assembly, budding and exit of new IBV virions
In the future, we plan to incorporate additional coronaviruses and nidoviruses into our work such as porcine epidemic diarrhoea virus, human coronavirus 229E, mouse hepatitis virus and Porcine Respiratory and Reproductive Syndrome Virus.
Nidoviruses and coronaviruses are important disease causing viruses, with infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) in particular causing large economic losses to the UK poultry industry. There is also threat of invasion by pathogenic porcine nidoviruses into the UK. In addition, coronaviruses in particular are an increasing threat to human health with three novel viruses emerging over the last 20 years. We are studying critical virus-cell interactions required by coronaviruses to facilitate replication. Understanding how viruses interact with the host cell provides the information required for design of novel vaccine development and pan-antiviral treatment approaches. These tools would allow better viral control, limiting economic losses, and provide preparedness for novel disease outbreaks.