Virology has always fascinated Dr. Krell for the intrinsic sophistication and simplicity of viruses as they usurp the cell for their own replication and as a vehicle for dissecting the molecular events that occur within a cell. In his laboratory they are interested in understanding the mechanisms...
Virology has always fascinated Dr. Krell for the intrinsic sophistication and simplicity of viruses as they usurp the cell for their own replication and as a vehicle for dissecting the molecular events that occur within a cell. In his laboratory they are interested in understanding the mechanisms and intracellular components involved in the molecular virology of the ubiquitous large dsDNA genome insect baculoviruses specifically focussing on transcriptional regulation, DNA replication, genomics, proteomics, viral protein functions, localizations and interactions. For example, they are searching for origins of DNA replication (where DNA replication starts) on the baculovirus genome and are interested in dissecting the enzyme complex and regulation needed to realize this most fundamental of all biological processes.
They are using the tools of transcriptomics and proteomics to unravel, on a global level, how these viruses regulate themselves and take over the cells metabolism and molecular machinery to its own advantage. For example, we found, from the work of a PhD student that the baculovirus ME53 protein is transported to budding sites on the cell membrane of virus infected cells where it probably assists the virus in “budding” from the cell.
In a study by another PhD student, they are looking at the interaction and regulation of a viral chitinase and cathepsin. These two hydrolytic enzymes are made early in the replication cycle but are not activated and released until after a high level of virus replication has occurred. These enzymes help to disrupt the structural integrity of the infected insect larvae causing it to liquefy which assists in the transmission of virus to nearby insects in the environment. Such knowledge could be used in the context of using baculoviruses to generate environmentally benign, highly species specific, biological control agents against insect pests (particularly in forests).
Furthermore, with colleagues in the Department of Pathobiology, Krell is studying animal viruses, in particular fowl adenoviruses, as vectors to produce subunit or live viral vaccines for several animal viral diseases, and have recently begun a collaboration on influenza virus research.