Antiviral immunity

Lead: Dr G McLean

Antibodies, vaccine development and extracellular vesicles

These studies aim to establish correlates of protection for viral diseases, the role of antibodies in viral neutralisation and strategies to design better vaccines.

We are characterising and producing recombinant human antibodies to the AD-2 epitope of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) and determining the specifics of human IgG and IgA in protective immune responses. These could find utility as biotherapeutics for HCMV infections.

We are developing a novel subunit vaccine for rhinoviruses (RVs) and characterising antibody and T cell responses that are broadly cross-reactive. Recent studies have identified novel antigenic determinants of the rhinovirus capsid and we will produce and further characterise monoclonal antibodies to these epitopes.

Our studies continue in the area of host microvesicles (MVs) and rhinovirus infection and aim to characterise the kinetics, structure and contents of MVs released from cells following RV infection and to determine their role in virus spread. This is a novel and untested hypothesis for the non-enveloped RV, although previous research has identified a role for MVs in the infection of cells by the related non-enveloped virus coxsackie type B and important human enveloped viruses including hepatitis C virus, human immunodeficiency virus, Epstein-Barr virus and human cytomegalovirus.

We are also studying the role of intracellular antibody virus neutralisation via the molecule TRIM21. These new studies address a novel mechanism of antibody neutralisation and applicability to RV neutralisation.