Viral Non-Structural Proteins


Viral non-structural proteins are enzymes carrying out a function within the viral transcription-replication complex. They are encoded by their non-structural genes and are commonly translated by the host cell of the virus. In contrast to structural proteins which are present on the surface of the viral capsid or within the viral membranes, non-structural proteins are located mainly in the cytosol or in the nucleus, carrying out their specific function. For example, non-structural proteins can have primase-, polymerase- oder helicase activity and are the major players of viral replication. However, the function of many viral non-structural proteins has not been identified so far, making them a highly intersting and relevant field of research.
The aim of the SIAS group is the structural-functional analysis of non-structural proteins from different viruses, e.g. Coronavirus 229E, Hepatitis B and C Virus and different oncolytic viruses. To obtain structural information of the non-structural proteins, several biophysical methods like dynamic light scattering (DLS), time-resolved BioSAXS measurements, x-ray crystallography as well as novel methods developed within the group are used. By surface plasmon resonance spectroscopy and other analytical methods potential interactions of viral non-structural proteins with each other or with host cell factors are analysed. Solving the protein structures of viral non-structural proteins and elucidating their interactions will help to understand their roles within the viral replication complex and thus provide new targets for the development of antiviral drugs.