One project in our Lab focuses on molecular events required for Ebolavirus entry into cells. A peculiarity of Ebola is that it must traffic deep in the endocytic pathway—passed early and traditional late endosomes—to endolysosomes where the viral and endolysosomal membranes fuse thereby providing the infectious genome with cytoplasmic machinery needed to make more virions. One reason Ebola traffics to endolysosomes is for its glycoprotein to bind to its intracellular receptor, the Niemann-Pick C1 (NPC1) protein. After that other, still poorly characterized events, elicit the fusion activity of the Ebola glycoprotein The accompanying image shows Ebola viral-like particles, which contain an mCherry-tagged matrix protein (red), after 2 hours of interaction with monkey kidney cells. At this time the cells were fixed and stained with an antibody to NPC1 (green). Areas of colocalization appear yellow (several indicated with yellow arrows). This work is helping to elucidate the mechanism of a key step in the infectious cycle of this devastating viral pathogen.
- PhD, Harvard University