Research

Professor Juha T Huiskonen

Fig 1.Unstained Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) particles embedded in vitreous ice, and imaged with an field emission gun electron microscope
Fig 2. Three dimensional reconstruction of RVFV calculated by combining data from several projection images (Fig 1) reveals the glycoprotein organization

My group focuses on structures and host cell interactions of emerging viruses.

We study how viruses belonging to families Arenaviridae and Bunyaviridae infect their host cells. Many of these viruses are pathogens causing serious diseases. These include Lassa virus, Rift Valley fever virus, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus and many hantaviruses. Despite the medical relevance of arena- and bunyaviruses, very little is known about their detailed three-dimensional structures and infection mechanisms. We use electron cryomicroscopy, combined with computational 3D reconstruction methods, to solve the structures of mature virions, in addition to intermediate structures existing during entry, membrane fusion and maturation.

The infection of a host cell by a virus is a complicated process and its study requires a combination of different techniques and model systems. Our electron cryomicroscopy and tomography studies are combined with complementary imaging and biophysical techniques to yield a detailed description of viral infection. For example, we are combining tomographic subvolume averaging techniques and high-resolution single particle electron cryomicroscopy with fitting of X-ray structures of viral glycoproteins into density maps of whole virus particles. Our group is also active in developing computational methods for these tasks.

The work is carried out at the Division of Structural Biology (StruBi) and Oxford Particle Imaging Centre (OPIC), which offers a high bio-safety containment laboratory providing facilities for virus production and high resolution electron cryomicroscopy and tomography.

Professor Juha T Huiskonen Professor Juha T Huiskonen

Titles

  • Associate Professor
  • Principal Investigator
  • Joint Head of Oxford Particle Imaging Centre

Group Information

  • Structures and host cell interactions of emerging viruses

Current Group

  • Felipe Moser Felipe
    Moser
  • Atsushi Furukawa Atsushi
    Furukawa
  • Sai Li Sai
    Li
  • Mengqiu Li Mengqiu
    Li
  • Simonas Masiulis Simonas
    Masiulis
  • Steinar Halldorsson Steinar
    Halldorsson
  • Shunsuke Kita Shunsuke
    Kita
  • Helen Duyvesteyn Helen
    Duyvesteyn
  • Mattia Bertinelli Mattia
    Bertinelli
  • Young Kim Young
    Kim
  • Serban Ilca Serban
    Ilca
  • Elizabeth Allen Elizabeth
    Allen
  • Zhaoyang Sun Zhaoyang
    Sun
  • Robert Stass Robert
    Stass
  • Rhys Pryce Rhys
    Pryce