Research News

27 Jun 2018

Advancements in host-based interventions for influenza treatment

Dr Suki Lee, principal investigator at HKU-Pasteur Research Pole, and her team have recently published a review paper in Frontiers in Immunology to discuss the latest advancements in novel host-based approaches with potential for influenza treatment.
Viruses rely on host cellular functions to replicate, recent therapeutic developments focus on targeting host factors involved in virus replication. Besides controlling virus replication, virus-induced host immune response, such as the latest ideas suggesting the involvement of innate lymphoid cells and NADPH oxidases in influenza virus pathogenesis as well as the renewed interest in immune cell metabolism may serve as potential targets for drug development.

07 Jun 2018

Whole transcriptome analysis reveals differential gene expression profile reflecting macrophage polarization in response to influenza A H5N1 virus infection

Dr Suki Lee, principal investigator at HKU-Pasteur Research Pole, and her collaborators at University of Toronto and The Centre for Applied Genomics, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada and University of Notre Dame, Indiana, USA have recently published a work in BMC Medical Genomics and described the earliest molecular events in influenza virus infected human macrophages using RNA-Seq. 
Their data revealed that the two macrophage populations named M1 (classically activated) and M2 (alternatively activated) macrophage subtypes respond distinctly to influenza A virus infection, while the dysregulated gene expression in response to the infection by highly pathogenic avian H5N1 virus occurs specifically in M1 subtype.
This study provides important mechanistic insights into the understanding of influenza viral pathogenesis and the multi-faceted host immune responses elicited by H5N1 virus infection and suggests potential candidates as therapeutic targets for treating influenza disease.

Learn more.

06 Jun 2018

Joao Pombo and Sumana Sanyal published a review on Perturbation of Intracellular Cholesterol and Fatty Acid Homeostasis During Flavivirus Infections

Joao Palma Pombo, HKU-Pasteur, and Prof Sumana Sanyal, team leader at HKU-Pasteur, published a review on Perturbation of Intracellular Cholesterol and Fatty Acid Homeostasis During Flavivirus Infections in Frontiers in Immunology. 

This review summarises the recent advances that have been made to understand how lipid metabolism in human cells is altered upon infection by viruses from the Flaviviridae family. This family includes dangerous pathogens such as Dengue virus, Zika virus, Hepatitis C virus, and West Nile virus, which share similar steps of a life cycle that heavily relies on the cellular secretory pathway and production of intracellular membranes.

These metabolic changes can be caused by the viruses themselves, as a survival strategy, given that enhanced cholesterol or fatty acid production generates a greater pool of energy resources and building blocks for enhanced membrane production, both of which support the viral life cycle. However, metabolic alterations can also be induced by the host cell itself in response to infection, since specific alterations in lipid metabolism can trigger an innate immune response against viruses.

The review is available online.