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Research interests

Current research activities focus on the biology, evolution and pathogenesis of nidoviruses (corona-, toro-, arteri-, mesoni- and roniviruses). The main goal of our studies is to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the factors and molecular mechanisms involved in nidoviral RNA synthesis, gene expression and pathogenesis in specific hosts. Information derived from these studies is used to develop new prophylactic and therapeutic strategies to combat respiratory, gastrointestinal and/or systemic infections caused by human and animal nidoviruses. We are particularly interested in the functional and structural characterisation of the nidoviral replication complex and its main functional subunits, such as RNA polymerases, endo- and exoribonucleases, proteases, helicases, methyltransferases, RNA-binding proteins as well as viral factors that inhibit or obviate host antiviral responses. Over the past few years, a number of enzymatic activities and complex regulatory mechanisms have been identified that are unique to this group of viruses. Some of these factors appear to be required for the replication and maintenance of the exceptionally large RNA genomes of corona- and related viruses (30 kb) and have been suggested to keep the error rate of the viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase at a relatively low level compared to most other RNA viruses.


Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft


 Group Members


 Selected Publications