IFITMs – Nature’s weapon against viral infections
- Dr. Jelger Risselada (Georg-August University)
- Friday 1 December 2017
2333 CC Leiden
- Havinga Lecture Room
The goal of my NWO Vidi grant is to elucidate how Interferon-induced transmembrane proteins (IFITMs) restrict viral entry. IFITMs are currently one of the most broadly acting and clinically relevant anti-viral molecules. To allow the viral genome to enter and infect the host viruses must fuse with either the endosomal membrane or plasma membrane. IFITM evidently inhibits a late common step in the viral fusion mechanism while simultaneously leaving other essential, functional (SNARE-mediated) fusion reactions unaffected. Unlocking the molecular features on how IFITMs inhibit viral fusion both selectively and efficiently will help to generate novel therapeutic strategies that could be applied against a broad range of both human and animal pathogens. To this aim, we are developing state-of-the-art free energy calculation methods which can directly quantify how molecules alter molecular reaction pathways and thereby pave the road to the 'on the fly' rational design of reaction inhibitors or accelerators. Finally, I will briefly outline the capabilities of molecular simulations in biological and material science such as, for example, the organization of biomaterials on solid surfaces or nano particles.