Tofo Spring School on the Molecular Biology of RNA Viruses

Topics & scope

The topic of the Tofo Spring School (TSS-2019) will be the molecular mechanisms governing the ”life cycles” of (re-)emerging RNA viruses of relevance to Africa. Most of these viruses can be considered neglected in the African context. One reason for this is that the burden posed by malaria is so high, and so many people have symptomless Plasmodium parasititis, that tests for malaria will often be positive, even though the acute disease that brings the patient to the hospital is caused by an RNA virus. The following RNA viruses will be discussed in the School: Ebola virus, influenza viruses, Rift Valley Fever virus, flaviviruses (i.e. Yellow Fever virus, Dengue virus, West Nile virus, and Zika virus), Chikungunya virus, coronaviruses, Rubella virus, Hepatitis E virus, Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic Fever virus, Respiratory Syncytial virus, and rotavirus. Individual steps of the viral replication cycle, such as receptor binding and entry into host cells, virus uncoating, RNA replication and transcription, viral particle assembly, and budding and egress will be discussed in detail, as will be host-virus interactions including aspects of innate and acquired immunity. Each step of the viral life cycle will be examined with respect to the potential for intervention by antiviral drugs or for vaccine development. Experimental techniques such as molecular cloning, protein overproduction, cryo-electron microscopy, X-ray crystallography, and basic methods of virology will be discussed within the lectures dealing with individual virus families.



Professor Rolf Hilgenfeld
Tel. +49-152-01450335