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Taking a closer look: Exploring the functional roles of P10 in baculovirus-infected cells
P10 is a small, highly expressed baculovirus protein whose function continues to be a mystery. Believed to be non-essential during virus infection, P10 is associated with a number of intracellular structures with suggested roles in polyhedron formation, nuclear stability and lysis. My work aims to elucidate the functional role of this protein during virus infection of cell cultures. Using a variety of techniques, including the first use of serial block-face scanning electron microscopy (SBF-SEM) for the study of P10 structure formation we have become ever closer to understanding the mechanism of this multifunctional protein.
Characterizing the antigenic structure of AHSV4-VP2 by baculovirus expression and surface display for safer vaccinegeneration
Baculoviruses have been widely used for recombinant protein expression for a long time and recently this has been taken a step forward by the pseudotyping approach, which is the display of recombinant proteins on the budded virus envelope. Pseudotyped baculoviruses could serve as safe vaccinesby displaying the antigenic epitopes of a target virus protein. Furthermore, they have the potential to be used as tools in diagnostic assays by mimicking lethal viruses in safer environments. The focus of this project was to use the standard baculovirus expression system alongside baculovirus surface display tostudy the antigenic nature of the capsid protein of a lethal equine virus (African horse sickness virus). African horse sickness (AHS) is an infectious, non-contagious, insect vector-borne disease of equids with more than 90% mortality rates in infected horses. The causative agent, AHSV, is mostlyendemic in sub-Saharan Africa. However, occasional outbreaks have occurred outside Africa such as by serotype 4 (AHSV4) including Europe. The horse industry has a major role in the economy of mainland Europe and the United Kingdom. An AHSV outbreak in these non-endemic regions would therefore have aconsiderable impact on sporting events, trade and animal health. The major control measure of this devastating disease is vaccination however; current vaccines are live-attenuated viruses that are not considered safe for use in non-endemic regions. Understanding the antigenic structure of the target AHSVprotein in this project would greatly contribute to generating more efficient, safe vaccines.