Dissecting the viral assembly complex
HCMV is a large double-stranded DNA virus whose genome is known to code for at least 150 proteins. The HCMV virion comprises a nucleocapsid that houses the DNA genome, and is surrounded by a proteinaceous tegument layer, and glycoprotein-containing lipid envelope. Importantly, there remains a gap in understanding how the virion is assembled, and the molecular mechanisms used by the virion to exit the infected cell (known as virial egress).
Infected cells undergo extensive organelle remodelling during viral infection that gives rise to the vAC. Several gross morphological alterations are induced including nuclear 'kidney bean' morphology, and the Golgi and endosome components constitute a structure that resembles cylindrical rings of organelle-derived vesicles.
This project investigates the following questions:
(1) How does the AC form?
(2) Which viral proteins are contained within the individual organelle vesicles?
(3) Which viral and host proteins are essential to the AC structure?