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The Department of Biomedicine

BBB seminar: Peter Rosenthal

Imaging virus and cell architecture by electron cryomicroscopy

Peter Rosenthal
Structural Biology of Cells and Viruses, Francis Crick Institute, London, UK

My group studies the architecture of large protein assemblies in order to understand basic molecular mechanisms that control protein and membrane traffic in the cell and in virus infection. The seminar will first describe recent progress in imaging biological assemblies by electron cryomicroscopy (cryo-EM). I will then focus on two areas of application: (1) three-dimensional reconstruction of lipid-enveloped viruses to understand virus assembly and entry into cells during infection. Membrane fusion of influenza virus with host cell membranes, a key step during entry, is mediated by the hemagglutinin (HA) glycoprotein at the low pH of the endosome. We have used cryotomography to image influenza virus fusing with liposomes, revealing structural changes in the HA as well as accompanying ultra-structural changes in the virus. (2) electron cryotomography and three-dimensional reconstruction of the thin edge of frozen-hydrated endothelial cells in order to understand the packaging of the adhesive glycoprotein von Willebrand factor (VWF) in rod-shape granules called Weibel-Palade bodies (WPBs). If time permits, I will discuss methods for future improvement of cryo-EM imaging of biological structure from the molecular to the cellular scale.

Chairperson: Inari Kursula, Department of Biomedicine