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Title: Molecular and biological characterisation of orthobunyaviruses
Author: Slack, Gillian Sinclair
ISNI:       0000 0004 5916 8721
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2016
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Orthobunyaviruses are the largest genus within the Bunyaviridae family, with over 170 named viruses classified into 18 serogroups (Elliott and Blakqori, 2001; Plyusnin et al., 2012). Orthobunyaviruses are transmitted by arthropods and have a tripartite negative sense RNA genome, which encodes 4 structural proteins and 2 non-structural proteins. The non-structural protein NSs is the primary virulence factor of orthobunyaviruses and potent antagonist of the type I interferon (IFN) response. However, sequencing studies have identified pathogenic viruses that lack the NSs protein (Mohamed et al., 2009; Gauci et al., 2010). The work presented in this thesis describes the molecular and biological characterisation of divergent orthobunyaviruses. Data on plaque morphology, growth kinetics, protein profiles, sensitivity to IFN and activation of the type I IFN system are presented for viruses in the Anopheles A, Anopheles B, Capim, Gamboa, Guama, Minatitlan, Nyando, Tete and Turlock serogroups. These are complemented with complete genome sequencing and phylogenetic analysis. Low activation of IFN by Tete serogroup viruses, which naturally lack an NSs protein, was also further investigated by the development of a reverse genetics system for Batama virus (BMAV). Recombinant viruses with mutations in the virus nucleocapsid protein amino terminus showed higher activation of type I IFN in vitro and data suggests that low levels of IFN are due to lower activation rather than active antagonism. The anti-orthobunyavirus activity of IFN-stimulated genes IFI44, IFITMs and human and ovine BST2 were also studied, revealing that activity varies not only within the orthobunyavirus genus and virus serogroups but also within virus species. Furthermore, there was evidence of active antagonism of the type I IFN response and ISGs by non-NSs viruses. In summary, the results show that pathogenicity in man and antagonism of the type I IFN response in vitro cannot be predicted by the presence, or absence, of an NSs ORF. They also highlight problems in orthobunyavirus classification with discordance between classical antigen based data and phylogenetic analysis.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: QR355 Virology