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Publications of the Week

A Stochastic Assembly Model for Nipah Virus Revealed by Super-Resolution Microscopy

By August 20, 2018August 23rd, 2018No Comments

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 This week we profile a recent publication in Nature Communications from
Dr. Keng Chou and Dr. Vivian Qian Liu (pictured) at the University of British Columbia.

Can you provide a brief overview of your lab’s current research focus?

Understanding the virus-host interactions using super-resolution microscopy, and applying the knowledge to vaccine and drug development, as well as virus-mediated gene therapy.

What is the significance of the findings in this publication?

Using super-resolution microscopy we have revealed secrets of the deadly Nipah virus, which were unrecognized by traditional imaging techniques. This discovery suggests that the assembly of some highly infectious enveloped viruses may be simpler and more rapid than previously envisioned. It also allows scientists to develop more effective vaccines and rule out many approaches to fighting these viruses.

UBC News released a press release on the study here.

What are the next steps for this research?

a) We will focus on understanding the role of the matrix protein on virus assembly, budding, and spreading.

b) This work has implications for vaccination, not just against Nipah but potentially against influenza, HIV and other enveloped viruses. One of the strategies for developing vaccines is to use virus-like-particles, which are protein-based structures that mimic viruses, to stimulate immune response. Vaccines could be made more effective if we find a way to exclude those non-functional particles found in our study.

This research was funded by:

This work was financially supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and the Canada Foundation for Innovation.

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