Frank Vreede

Regulation of replication and transcription of negative sense RNA viruses

Our research focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms governing gene transcription and the replication of negative sense RNA viruses. This is a large and diverse group of viruses, that includes a myriad of important pathogens such as Ebola and Marburg viruses, influenza virus, measles, mumps, rabies and many others pathogens of humans, wild and domesticated animals, and plants.

Influenza A virus ribonuclear protein.

Assembly of influenza A virus NP onto a nascent RNP.

A hallmark of these viruses is that the basic unit of infectivity is the ribonucleoprotein (RNP) complex. The RNP, which is comprised of the viral genome, the viral polymerase and multiple copies of the nucleoprotein, carries out all viral transcription and replication, and is a major determinant of host range and pathogenicity. Despite this fairly simple ubiquitous structure, little is known about the molecular mechanisms regulating the activity of the RNP. The fundamental aim of our research is to decipher these mechanisms and to use this knowledge to underpin the development of novel strategies to combat disease.

We pursue three specific areas: the structural and functional analysis of the influenza A virus ribonucleoprotein complex; the molecular mechanisms of transcription and replication of the influenza virus genomic RNA by the viral RNA polymerase; and the role of the nucleoprotein of negative sense RNA viruses in regulating replication and transcription.

Research Areas