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LIFE SCIENCE

Characterization of a novel cellular protein with antiviral properties: antiviral and cellular features


The research project is under the co-supervision of
Andrea CIMARELLI                                DU Bing
(Virology, ENS Lyon)                           (Biology, ECNU)
acimarel@ens-lyon.fr                           bdu.ecnu@gmail.com

SPECIFIC AIMS
In the present proposal we propose to kick start a collaboration between our groups, by focusing our efforts on the characterization of the antiviral properties and of the physiological functions of a novel cellular protein that seems to play an important role in innate immunity defenses against pathogens.

Viruses are intracellular parasites that rely almost completely on cellular functions to complete their life cycle and to multiply themselves into the cell. During this process, a plethora of interactions are established between viral and cellular proteins that are often referred to as the host-pathogen interface.

Among the cellular proteins that intervene during viral infection, some, for the most part unidentified to date, play important roles in limiting the virus replication and are referred to as restriction factors.

An active area of research in our laboratory is the identification and characterization of novel cellular restriction factors that are directed against HIV-1, the virus that causes AIDS. Recently, we have identified an interferon-regulated protein that appears to potently inhibit HIV-1, but the mechanisms underlaying this inhibition remain unclear to date.

The purpose of this grant is to characterize the antiviral properties of this protein, as well as to apprehend its normal physiological functions. To achieve this goal, we have teamed up with the laboratory of Dr. Du at the ECNU who possesses extensive experience in cell biology.

The overall aim of this project is to set the basis for a thorough understanding of the functions of a novel cellular restriction factor directed against HIV-1, in the hope that such mechanism of antiviral inhibition could be in the future used against the virus itself.

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