Investigating the mechanism of action of the antiviral molecule, IFITM3
Cells of the immune system, due to the nature of their job, often find themselves at sites of active virus infection. Immune cells can up-regulate the expression of an array of molecules upon entry into an inflamed/infected tissue and these molecules help render them resistant to infection. One such molecule, interferon induced transmembrane protein 3 (IFITM3), is a potent antiviral protein having the capacity to render cells resistant to influenza virus infection. To date, the precise antiviral mechanism(s) of IFITM3 is unknown. It is thought that IFITM3 blocks a very early step in the virus replication cycle, after viral endocytosis but preceding primary transcription (Figure 1). Using biochemical approaches, and advanced microscopy techniques (Figure 2) we are currently investigating the mechanism of action of IFITM3. We are also investigating how the expression of this antiviral molecule is regulated in different cell types.
Figure 1: Schematic depicting the stage during the viral replication cycle targeted by IFITM3.
Figure 2: Super-resolution microscope image of a dendritic cell depicting the expression of IFITM3(blue) in intracellular vesicles (EEA1+).
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