Viruses and Host Defense Mechanisms

Viruses—as obligate intracellular pathogens—require the host biosynthetic machinery. They need the host translational machinery for the synthesis of new viral proteins. Researchers do not yet understand the mechanisms by which viruses coopt the host translational machinery and avoid the innate host defenses—those that prevent viral protein synthesis by degrading viral mRNA and diminishing cellular protein synthesis. 

John S. L. Parker, Baker Institute for Animal Health, is seeking new basic knowledge about viral strategies for overcoming innate host defenses. His goal is to define the mechanisms by which mammalian reoviruses reprogram the host translational machinery to synthesize viral proteins. In particular, his focus is on virus-mediated compartmentalization of the translational machinery, a novel pathogenic mechanism by which viral protein synthesis can be maintained during infection-induced stress. 

Parker expects to identify the viral factors needed for compartmentalization of the host translational machinery within viral factories and to gain a better understanding of the replication activities of reoviruses, as well as their activities around coopting the host translational machinery and modifying ribosome function. NIH Award Number: 1R01AI121216-01

Cornell Researchers

Funding Received

$1.9 Million spanning 5 years