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Adenovirus immune evasion

We have identified several adenovirus (Ad) E3 proteins that modulate the host immune response: i) E3/19K inhibits cell surface expression of MHC class I molecules, thereby preventing T cell recognition of infected cells (Burgert & Kvist, 1985; Burgert et al., 1987). We recently discovered a novel function for this protein. We demonstrated that it affects also Natural killer cell activation by retaining MHC class I chain related proteins A and B (MICA/B) in the ER (McSharry et al., 2008). ii) E3/10.4-14.5K remove death receptors from the cell surface to prevent apoptosis (programmed cell death) induced by immune cells (Elsing & Burgert, 1998; Hilgendorf et al., 2003). iii) A novel E3 protein of Ad19a that causes an eye disease seems to affect the immune system in a fundamentally different way (Windheim & Burgert, 2002; Windheim et al., 2004). Work (incl. proteomics) is aimed at identifying other cellular target molecules affected by virus infection.

In addition, we have developed a new cloning and manipulation methodology for adenoviruses that allows us to clone and modify any of the 51 human Ad serotypes. We have applied this technique to develop a novel adenovirus vector for gene therapy and vaccination based on Ad19a (Ruzsics et al. 2006; Thirion et al. 2006). This type of vector promises to have a number of advantages over the standard Ad5 vector when applied to humans in a clinical setting.

Our research is funded by the BBSRC and the MRC.

Past Group Members: Stuart Martin, PhD student Louise Hosie, Master student; Cathy Parry, Chief technician; Lucy Chaplin, Post-Doc; Suzy Eldershaw, PhD student; Douglas Owen, Master student Minghui Ao, Master student; Jen Cox, Post-Doc

Research Collaborations: We are collaborating with a number of research groups; most recently in particular with that G. Wilkinson.

Further information on Dr Hans Burgert:

1985-1987 Postdoc with S Kvist at the Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research (ISREC), Lausanne, Switzerland
1987-1990 Postdoc with J. Kappler and P. Marrack, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, National Jewish Center for Immunology, Denver, USA
1990-1996 Group leader at the Max-Planck Institute for Immunology, Freiburg, Germany
1996-2001 Research group leader at the Gene Centre, Ludwig Maximilian University, Department of Virology, Munich, Germany
2002-2005 Lecturer at the University of Warwick, Department of Biological Sciences, UK
2005- Associate Professor at the University of Warwick

Reviewer for International scientific journals:
EMBO Journal
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. SA
Journal of Cell Biology
Journal of Biological Chemistry
Journal of Clinical Investigation
Journal of Virology
Molecular Immunology

Editor for international scientifc journals:
Frontiers in Immunology and Microbiology

Reviewer for international organisation and research councils:
European Commission
Wellcome Trust
German Research Council (DFG)