Valeria Lulla

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Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is an alphavirus that causes chronic and incapacitating arthralgia in humans. Injury to the joint is believed to occur because of viral and host immune-mediated effects. However, the exact involvement of the different immune mediators in CHIKV-induced pathogenesis is unknown. In this study, we assessed the roles of T cells in(More)
The C-terminal cysteine protease domain of Semliki Forest virus nonstructural protein 2 (nsP2) regulates the virus life cycle by sequentially cleaving at three specific sites within the virus-encoded replicase polyprotein P1234. The site between nsP3 and nsP4 (the 3/4 site) is cleaved most efficiently. Analysis of Semliki Forest virus-specific cleavage(More)
UNLABELLED Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is a reemerging mosquito-borne alphavirus that has caused severe epidemics in Africa and Asia and occasionally in Europe. As of today, there is no licensed vaccine available to prevent CHIKV infection. Here we describe the development and evaluation of novel CHIKV vaccine candidates that were attenuated by deleting a(More)
Semliki Forest virus (SFV) is a member of the Alphavirus genus, which produces its replicase proteins in the form of a nonstructural (ns) polyprotein precursor P1234. The maturation of the replicase occurs in a temporally controlled manner by protease activity of nsP2. The template preference and enzymatic capabilities of the alphaviral replication complex(More)
Alphavirus-based vector and replicon systems have been extensively used experimentally and are likely to be used in human and animal medicine. Whilst marker genes can be inserted easily under the control of a duplicated subgenomic promoter, these constructs are often genetically unstable. Here, a novel alphavirus construct is described in which an enhanced(More)
Type I interferons (IFN) are important for antiviral responses. Melanoma differentiation-associated gene 5 (MDA-5) and retinoic acid-induced gene I (RIG-I) proteins detect cytosolic double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) or 5'-triphosphate (5'-ppp) RNA and mediate IFN production. Cytosolic 5'-ppp RNA and dsRNA are generated during viral RNA replication and(More)
Semliki Forest virus (SFV) has a positive strand RNA genome and infects different cells of vertebrates and invertebrates. The 5' two-thirds of the genome encodes non-structural proteins that are required for virus replication and synthesis of subgenomic (SG) mRNA for structural proteins. SG-mRNA is generated by internal initiation at the SG-promoter that is(More)
Alphavirus replicase protein nsP1 has multiple functions during viral RNA synthesis. It catalyzes methyltransferase and guanylyltransferase activities needed in viral mRNA capping, attaches the viral replication complex to cytoplasmic membranes, and is required for minus-strand RNA synthesis. Two temperature-sensitive (ts) mutations in Semliki Forest virus(More)
Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) has been responsible for large epidemic outbreaks causing fever, headache, rash and severe arthralgia. So far, no specific treatment or vaccine is available. As nucleic acid amplification can only be used during the viremic phase of the disease, serological tests like neutralization assays are necessary for CHIKV diagnosis and for(More)
Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus (VEEV) is a pathogenic alphavirus, which circulates in the Central, South, and North Americas, including the United States, and represents a significant public health threat. In recent years, strong progress has been made in understanding the structure of VEEV virions, but the mechanism of their formation has yet to be(More)