Featured event

Virus Host Interactions

Qbio Seminar Series-Ashley Baltes

Event Details

When: April 20, 2016, 2:00 PM

Location: 3rd Floor Orchard View Room , Discovery Building

Contact: 608-316-4401, hstampfli@wisc.edu

Ashley Baltes

Ashley Baltes
Systems Biology Theme-WID

The development and optimization of quantitative fluorescent reporters to visualize real-time kinetics of virus-host interactions

Viruses infect their multi-cellular hosts through processes that play out over multiple scales: a virus particle infects a susceptible host cell, producing virus progeny that then spread to other cells within the host and initiate new rounds of infection. Infected cells make not only virus progeny, but also virus-like defective interfering particles (DIPs), which lack essential genes needed for replication. DIPs are found in natural isolates of influenza A, dengue and West Nile viruses, but their roles in infection spread and disease pathogenesis are not known. DIPs alone are non-infectious. However, in co-infections with intact virus, DIP genomes can interfere with virus growth by competing for viral polymerase, replicating at the expense of viral genomes, or by binding packaging proteins, assembling DIP progeny at the expense of intact virus particles. To elucidate how DIP-virus interactions play out in spreading infections we engineered wild-type and DIP strains of vesicular stomatitis virus to encode and express red and green fluorescent proteins, respectively.  With this system we were able to monitor the dynamics of wild-type and defective virus gene expression through their respective reporter proteins in single co-infected cells. In co-infections with wild-type (RFP) the reporter-DIP inhibited production of infectious virus to the same extent as standard non-reporter DIPs, but reporter-DIPs were less potent in their ability to inhibit wild-type (RFP) reporter protein production. Heterogeneity in protein expression patterns was apparent among cells co-infected with the same dose of wild-type and reporter-DIPs, but wild-type protein expression (RFP) overall decreased as DIP reporter protein (GFP) expression increased. When infections were permitted to spread spatially across a population of susceptible cells, the global wild-type spread rate decreased as the initial reporter-DIP dose increased, but many local areas of DIP or wild-type virus enrichment were observed. More broadly, these results highlight how similar patterns of virus growth and inhibition at the level of individual cells can exhibit distinctly different properties of infection spread or containment when virus and DIPs propagating spatially across a population of susceptible cells.

All QBio sponsored talks take place on Wednesdays at 2:00 p.m. in the 3rd floor Orchard View room of the Discovery Building. Talks are open to the public. Access to the room is via the elevator behind Aldo’s Cafe in the Northeast corner of the building.