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09 Jan 2019

Congratulations to Fionn Ma!

Another graduation at HKU-Pasteur! Supervised by Roberto Bruzzone, Fionn Ma got her MPhil with her thesis titled “Investigation on the Functional Roles of Interaction between Human Karyopherin Isoforms and Nucleoprotein of Influenza B Virus“.

She will now work as a Research Assistant in Sophie Valkenburg’s team to continue her journey in HKU-Pasteur Research Pole.

Summary of her thesis:

Influenza B viruses are capable of causing disease with severity similar to that of influenza A. Nonetheless, unlike influenza A viruses that naturally exits in waterfowls, influenza B does not have an established animal reservoir and is largely restricted to humans. Factors determining the host specificity of influenza B virus have not been well studied. To establish interspecies transmission, a virus must be able to propagate efficiently in host cells of both species. The nuclear translocation of viral proteins of the ribonucleoprotein complex (vRNP) is a crucial step during virus replication, which relies on a group of cellular protein called karyopherin subunit α (KPNAs). These KPNA isoforms recognize nuclear localization sequences (NLS) on vRNP components and other cargo proteins and facilitate their transportation across nuclear pore complexes (NPC).

In this study, we showed that the nucleoprotein (NP) of influenza B virus interacted with human KPNA 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6. KPNA silenced human cells were employed to determine the roles of each KPNA on viral polymerase activity, transcription efficiency and virus replication. We showed that absence of KPNA2 decreased the polymerase activity of influenza B for 60%. However, KPNA2 silencing did not affect viral transcription and replication in our infection model. From our transcriptomic analysis, distinctive cellular responses were triggered between the cells infected by influenza A and B viruses suggesting that the two viruses may adapt to different strategies upon infection.

Given that studies on influenza B viruses are relatively limited compared to those on influenza A, our study gained a better understanding on the interplay between the host factors and NP of influenza B virus.

We wish you all the best Fionn! 

07 Jan 2019

Tremendous success for the 10th Immunology Course Anniversary Symposium!

Welcome back! For the 10th Anniversary of its Immunology Course, HKU-Pasteur hosted a world class symposium with the course alumni and special guests. 

In front of a packed seminar room, the day started with welcome addresses by Suet-Yi LeungAssociate Dean (Research) of the LKS Faculty of Medicine of the University of Hong Kong, Leo Kung, Chairman of the Pasteur Foundation Asia and a video message by Alexandre Giorgini, Consul General of France in Hong Kong and Macau. The symposium was a great success for everyone, a prestigious event in a warm and friendly atmosphere. All day long, alumni from all over the world shared their experience and projects, took part in a poster presentation session and enjoyed being back together after many years. 

It was also the occasion for the 2018 students to meet their predecessors and discuss career paths and experiences, as this day concluded the 10th Immunology Course, starting a new batch of alumni that will strengthen this amazing network. 

This hectic day ended in a joyful and festive ambiance over dinner, celebrating immunology, knowledge and the Pasteurian values. A great way to start the festive season! 

HKU-Pasteur wishes to thank all participants, students, alumni and guests, with special thanks to Leo Kung and Suet-Yi Leung, for their speech during the opening ceremony, to Alexandre Giorgini, who took the time to record a welcoming video, to Kanta SubbaraoWHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza, The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, Melbourne, Australia, and Jean-Marc Cavaillon, Department of Infection & Epidemiology, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France, for their captivating presentations. 

We hope to see you next time for another exciting event! 

In the meantime, don’t forget to subscribe to our Newsletter, our Facebook page, group and LinkedIn Alumni group! 

Roberto Bruzzone, Co-Director of the HKU-Pasteur Research Pole and Immunology Course Co-Director, opening the symposium.

Leo Kung, Chairman of the Pasteur Foundation Asia, and Malik Peiris, Co-Director of the HKU-Pasteur Research Pole.

Suet-Yi Leung, Associate Dean (Research) of the LKS Faculty of Medicine of the University of Hong Kong.

Video message by Alexandre Giorgini, Consul General of France in Hong Kong and Macau.

Jean-Marc Cavaillon, Institut Pasteur, France.

Kanta Subbarao, the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, Australia.

Leo Kung, James Di Santo, Institut Pasteur Paris (France) and Immunology Course Co-Director, Keiji Fukuda, Director of the School of Public Health of the University of Hong Kong.

Sophie Valkenburg, HKU-Pasteur Research Pole, Immunology Course Co-Director.