Dr Alex Borodavka
Rotaviruses (RVs), from the Reoviridae family, constitute a rapidly evolving group of pathogens that cause over 200,000 deaths annually among children under 5 years old. In addition to the deleterious effects on human health, RVs cause devastating disease in livestock. In the heart of each infectious rotavirus there are 11 distinct genomic RNA segments, of which a single copy of each segment must be packaged into a forming virus. Despite significant progress in understanding the structural basis of RV replication, there is still no detailed understanding of how such selective RNA segment counting and packaging occurs, mainly due to the lack of a suitable experimental approach for studying complex molecular interactions taking place in infected cells. I am interested in developing and applying highly sensitive single molecule fluorescence (SMF) techniques for tackling this fundamental biological problem.
The key goals of my research are: a) to establish the mechanism of selective segment packaging in rotaviruses, and b) to demonstrate that segment interactions can be disrupted, thus affecting replication of the virus.
Investigating genomic RNA-RNA interactions involved in rotavirus assembly. A. Inter-segment RNA-RNA interactions probed using Two-Colour Fluorescence Cross-Correlation Spectroscopy (FCCS). B. Mapping potential sites of RNA-RNA interactions using RNA-RNA SELEX. C. Proposed model of the RNA chaperone-mediated RNA remodelling and multi-segmented genome assembly in rotaviruses.
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Funding: Wellcome Trust<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://biologicalsciences.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>