Nuruddin Unchwaniwala

Nuruddin Unchwaniwala

Post Doctoral Research Associate



(608) 265-9740


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Positive-strand RNA ((+)RNA) viruses such as SARS and MERS coronaviruses, Dengue, Zika and Hepatitis C viruses have devastating human health and socio-economic consequences. Upon infection (+)RNA viruses reorganize the intracellular host membranes to form replication complexes (RCs) to support viral genome replication. In the Ahlquist lab, I work with a highly advanced Nodavirus model system to study RC assembly, structure and function via a combination of cryo-electron microscopy and biochemical techniques. A detailed molecular understanding of viral RCs is essential to find novel drug targets to inhibit the replication and spread of (+)RNA viruses.

Selected Publications

  • Unchwaniwala, N., and Ahlquist, P. (2020). Coronavirus dons a new crown. Science 369, 1306–1307.
  • Unchwaniwala, N., Zhan, H., Pennington, J., Horswill, M., den Boon, J.A., and Ahlquist, P. (2020). Subdomain cryo-EM structure of nodaviral replication protein A crown complex provides mechanistic insights into RNA genome replication. PNAS 117, 18680–18691.
  • Unchwaniwala, N., Sherer, N.M., and Loeb, D.D. (2016). Hepatitis B Virus Polymerase Localizes to the Mitochondria, and Its Terminal Protein Domain Contains the Mitochondrial Targeting Signal. Journal of Virology 90, 8705–8719.
  • Tan, Z., Pionek, K., Unchwaniwala, N., Maguire, M.L., Loeb, D.D., and Zlotnick, A. (2015). The Interface between Hepatitis B Virus Capsid Proteins Affects Self-Assembly, Pregenomic RNA Packaging, and Reverse Transcription. Journal of Virology 89, 3275–3284.