PhD, Honours, Masters

Our laboratory has shown that HIV inhibits the induction of type I and III interferons, predominantly IFNβ, by blocking TBK1 phosphorylation. This block was mediated by one of the HIV accessory proteins VPR. We have also recently found that Vpr physically interacts with the kinase domain (KD) but not the dimerization (DD) or ubiquitin-like (ULD) domains of TBK1 using co-immunoprecipitation assays, after co-transfection into HEK293T cells. We are currently cloning the TBK1 KD and DD (as a control) into third generation lentiviral vectors (LV) and our aim will be to test whether LVs expressing only the TBK1 KD have the ability to restore IFNβ production in dendritic cells and macrophages, and to inhibit HIV spread to adjacent target cells, especially CD4 T cells. We will also define what domain(s) of VPR is binding to the KD of TBK1.

This project will provide training in cell culture, HIV infectivity assay, PCR, Flow cytometry, cloning, transfections, cell imaging and western blots.

Supervisor: Dr Najla Nasr
Co-supervisors: Pr Anthony L Cunningham, Dr Caroline Royle
Contact: Najla