Understanding the interaction between dengue virus and mosquito C-type lectins on the molecular level
Dr Max Renner
University of Oxford
Dengue virus is transmitted to humans through the bite of mosquitoes and is the cause of dengue fever. The virus is an enormous burden on global human health and the economy with more than 390 million people infected each year. At the moment there are no therapeutics available and the success of vaccination efforts has been limited. It is important to note that dengue actively multiplies in not only humans but also mosquitoes. Replication of the virus inside the mosquito is an important prerequisite for it to be transmitted to humans. The most important mosquito species for the transmission of the virus is the yellow fever mosquito.
Using structural biology methods I aim to study molecules from the yellow fever mosquito which are important for the virus. The dengue virus uses these molecules to help it infect the mosquito. I will analyse how this occurs at the molecular level. I will carry out experiments with live mosquitoes to prove that my hypotheses are also true for the whole organism.
Understanding how the mosquito is infected may ultimately help us reduce the transmission of the dengue virus at this step of the cycle.