The family of positive-strand RNA viruses include global human health concerns such as Dengue, Zika and Hepatitis C viruses that upon infection repurpose the intracellular host membranes for viral replication. In the Ahlquist lab, I work with another member of the family – Flock House Virus (FHV) – to study how FHV modifies the mitochondrial membranes to form RNA replication complexes called ‘spherules’. A detailed molecular understanding of the assembly, structure and function of the RNA replication spherules is essential to find novel drug targets to inhibit the replication and spread of positive-strand RNA viruses.
- Unchwaniwala N, Sherer NM, Loeb DD. 2016. Hepatitis B virus polymerase localizes to the mitochondria and its terminal protein domain contains the mitochondrial-targeting signal. J Virol. Epub.
- Tan Z, Pionek K, Unchwaniwala N, Maguire ML, Loeb DD, Zlotnick A. 2015. The interface between hepatitis B virus capsid proteins affects self-assembly, pregenomic RNA packaging, and reverse transcription. J Virol 89:3275–84.