Entry by enveloped viruses

Membrane-enveloped influenza virion (left, CDC, Frederick Murphy).  Simulations of influenza’s fusion protein hemagglutinin and membranes (center and right).

Combining experiment and mathematical modeling, we are trying to understand how membrane-enclosed (enveloped) viruses such as influenza, HIV and ebola gain entry to host cells by fusing their membrane coats with target cell membranes. These pathogens use fusion mechanisms with remarkable parallels to the SNARE-driven mechanisms employed by cells.  For example, influenza uses a fusion protein hemagglutinin (HA) that collapses into a cylindrically shaped complex similar to the SNARE complex. We have studied reconstituted influenza fusion systems experimentally, and we use analytical and computational theoretical models to simulate the mechanisms of HA-mediated fusion and the pathway to infection.

© O'Shaughnessy Group 2018