WHAT DO WE STUDY
All enveloped viruses (e.g., influenza, Ebola) deliver their genomes into host cells by fusing with a cell membrane. Most fuse with the limiting membrane of an endosome. The White lab studies the cell biology of virus entry (in which endosome a virus fuses and in response to which environmental cues) as well as the mechanisms of the viral proteins that execute the genome-releasing membrane fusion event.
HOW IS IT STUDIED
We use cell biological, virological, biochemical and biophysical approaches to tackle our questions. These include live cell fluorescence microscopy, entry-reporter pseudoviruses, and quantitative virus-cell and cell-cell fusion assays. We also collaborate with others on structural aspects of viral fusion proteins.
Colocalization of Ebola Viral-Like Particles with NPC1+ Endosomes See Mingo et al.
WHAT DO WE HOPE TO LEARN
We hope to identify the endosomal portal for each virus, what in that endosome triggers fusion, and how the viral fusion protein responds to the fusion trigger. We are currently studying Ebola and Lassa fever viruses. A goal is to use what we learn to facilitate on-going efforts to develop practical drugs to combat these devastating pathogens.
Model for How the Ebola Virus Glycoprotein is Activated to Induce Viral Fusion