Applications of Reverse Genetics of Viruses

Friday, 03 February 2006

Applications of Reverse Genetics of Viruses
Friday, 03 February 2006 09:15 - 16:30

Birkbeck College
Room B04
Malet Street
United Kingdom

Map and Directions

In the beginning was Genetics, the understanding of how phenotype was passed from one generation to the next. The term Reverse Genetics was coined when people began to clone individual genes and sought understanding of the molecular underpinning of the phenotypes found in nature.  Reverse Genetics of viruses has come to mean systems in which a manipulable copy of the viral genome can be used to generate new viruses.  Great strides have been made in our understanding of viruses using these techniques, and many new ways of using them have been found. This meeting will bring together several of the leading scientists using these techniques to present their latest work, with particular emphasis on the negative strand RNA viruses. Dr Michael Baron, Morbillivirus-Host Interactions Institute for Animal Health Ash Road, Pirbright, Surrey - Meeting Chair


9:15 – 9:45   Registration – Tea, coffee and biscuits

9:45 - 10:00  Introduction by the Chair - Dr Michael Baron - Morbillivirus-Host Interactions Institute for Animal Health Ash Road, Pirbright, Surrey

10:00 - 10:30 Reverse genetics of pneumoviruses
Professor Andrew Easton - University of Warwick
I will describe the reverse genetics systems for pneumoviruses, indicating specific unique characteristics.  I will then present experimental data using the system to understand specific aspects of pneumovirus replication.

10:30 – 11:00  The development and application of flavivirus reverse genetic systems
Dr Andrew Davison - University of Bristol
The talk will first describe the development of reverse genetic systems for flaviviruses outlining the approaches used to overcome technical hurdles. The application of reverse genetics to flavivirus pathogenesis and replication will be discussed with an emphasis on dengue virus. The use of reverse genetics to produce novel flavivirus vaccines will be described.

11:00 – 11:30  
Morning tea/coffee

11:30 – 12:00 Recombinant Sendai virus as gene transfer agent
Dr Uta Griesenbach - Imperial College London
Reverse genetics has enabled production of recombinant Sendai viral vectors (SeV) for gene therapy and vaccination. SeV utilises cholesterol and sialic acid residues for cell entry. These are present on most cell types and, therefore, SeV is an efficient gene transfer agent in most tissues. Importantly, SeV is a cytoplasmic RNA virus and does not enter the nucleus.

12:00 – 12:30  Preparing for the inevitable – pandemic influenza
Dr James Robertson - National Institute for Biological Standards and Control, Potters Bar
Reverse genetics technology is being used to investigate novel types of influenza vaccine and can be applied to generate candidate vaccine strains on an efficient and rational basis.  The rapidity and robustness of the method allowed us to generate a non-pathogenic vaccine strain against a human H5N1 (avian) flu virus within three weeks of receipt of the wild type pathogenic virus.  This was also achieved using a quality system to assure the suitability of the strain for use in vaccine manufacture and this virus is now being used world-wide for the manufacture and clinical trials of a human H5 vaccine.

12:30 - 13:30   Lunch

13:30 – 14:00  Manipulation of virus genomes to elucidate the pathogenesis of respiratory
syncytial viruses

Dr Geraldine Taylor - Institute for Animal Health

In order to establish infection and ensure transmission to a new host, viruses have evolved strategies to evade host responses. The ability to manipulate the genomes of negative-sense, single-stranded RNA viruses using reverse genetic systems has provided the opportunity to investigate the evasion strategies of respiratory syncytial viruses (RSV), which are a major cause of acute respiratory disease. An understanding of RSV gene functions provides the opportunity to elucidate immune effector mechanisms important in defence against these respiratory pathogens and to develop live attenuated virus vaccine candidates.

14:00 - 14:30  Rational attenuation of a morbillivirus 
Dr Paul Duprex - The Queen’s University of Belfast
I will introduce morbilliviruses; describe what we know of their life-cycle and focus on some of the diseases they cause.  This will serve as a foundation to explain how we generate and characterise recombinant viruses using reverse genetics approaches.  I will then focus on a recent study in which we have used reverse genetics to attenuate a morbillivirus.  To conclude I will discuss how these studies may have an impact on the rationale design of vaccines in general.

14:30 - 15:00             General discussion & close

This meeting is CPD accredited


Contact Details

Payment Instructions

    • Payment can be made by Visa or Mastercard online by secure server or by post
    • Cheques should be made payable to Euroscicon and mailed (together with a print out of the invoice which will be available at the end of the registration process) to

    Sally Wheatland
    PO Box 49717
    N20 8WH.

    Payment must be received prior to the meeting

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