Professor of Virology
Department of Virology
Medical University of Vienna
Kinderspitalgasse 15, 1090 Vienna, Austria
Phone: +43 (0)1 40160 - 65505
FAX: +43 (0)1 40160 - 965599
Molecular mechanisms of flavivirus entry and assembly, structure-function relationships of viral envelope proteins.
Flavivirus entry, assembly and maturation
Flaviviruses are small enveloped viruses including a number of important human pathogens, such as yellow fever, dengue, Japanese encephalitis, West Nile, and tick-borne encephalitis viruses.
They enter cells by receptor-mediated endocytosis and fuse their membrane with that of the endosome. Fusion is triggered by the acidic pH of this compartment and mediated by the viral envelope protein E. Assembly of flaviviruses takes place in the endoplasmic reticulum and leads to the formation of immature virions that are transported through the exocytic pathway of the cell.
Virus maturation occurs in the trans-Golgi network and involves the processing of the precursor membrane protein prM. In this research area, we investigate the structural basis and molecular details of fusion and assembly in vivo and in vitro using experimental systems of recombinant subviral particles and infectious cDNA clones of flaviviruses.
„State of the art“ basic molecular biology and virology techniques, pro- and eukaryotic expression systems, protein chemical analyses, cell culture techniques, immunological assays for the analysis of antigens and antibodies, viral mutagenesis systems, in vitro assays for viral functions.
Stiasny K., S. Kiermayr, A. Bernhart, and F. X. Heinz. 2013. The membrane-proximal "stem" region increases the stability of the flavivirus e protein postfusion trimer and modulates its structure. J Virol 87:9933-8.
Pangerl, K., F. X. Heinz, and K. Stiasny*. 2011. Mutational analysis of the zippering reaction during flavivirus membrane fusion. Journal of Virology 85: 8495–8501.
Fritz, R., J. Blazevic, C. Taucher, K. Pangerl, F. X. Heinz, and K. Stiasny. 2011. The unique transmembrane hairpin of flavivirus fusion protein E is essential for membrane fusion. J Virol 85:4377-85.