Molecular biology and pathogenesis of measles virus infection
Lyman Duff Medical Building
3775 University St., Room 502
Montreal, QC H3A 2B4
Tel: (514) 398-3925
Fax: (514) 398-7052
dalius [dot] briedis [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Email)
Despite the development of an apparently effective vaccine against measles in the early 1960's, it remains the number one infectious killer in the developing world. The disease strikes about 44 million children a year and kills 1.5 million of them. Moreover, in the 1980s and '90s, large scale outbreaks of measles have occurred 3 out of 4 years in North America.
Really effective control of measles will likely require development of a genetically-engineered vaccine that contains protective viral elements with none of the components that can cause immunosuppression. Existing basic knowledge of what happens during measles virus infection is currently inadequate for such a task. My laboratory is currently one of only a handful worldwide conducting intensive research into the molecular biology and immunology of measles virus infection and replication.
The measles virus is a member of a diverse group of viruses with single-stranded negative-sense RNA genomes. Our ongoing work on the fundamental mechanisms involved in measles virus replication involves
- analysis of cis-acting control sequences within the measles virus genome,
- functional analysis of individual measles virus-encoded polypeptides via vector expression in bacteria and in vitro functional assay, as well as inducible expression and analysis in eukaryotic cells,
- mapping and specific determination of the genetic basis of vaccine attenuation,
- in vitro mutagenesis to generate defined virus mutants,
- the goal of generating new vaccine strains of measles virus, and, ultimately,
- the expectation of generating an engineered vaccine containing protective viral elements, but with none of the components which cause immune suppression.
Selected Recent Publications
Briedis DJ, Khamessan A, McLaughlin RW, Vali H, Panaritou M, Chan EC. "Isolation of Campylobacter fetus subsp. fetus from a patient with cellulitis." J Clin Microbiol. 2002 Dec;40(12):4792-6.
Vigeant P, Loo VG, Bertrand C, Dixon C, Hollis R, Pfaller MA, McLean AP, Briedis DJ, Perl TM, Robson HG. "An outbreak of Serratia marcescens infections related to contaminated chlorhexidine." Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 1998 Oct;19(10):791-4.
Liston P, Batal R, DiFlumeri C, Briedis DJ. "Protein interaction domains of the measles virus nucleocapsid protein (NP)." Arch Virol. 1997;142(2):305-21.
Blain, F., Liston, P. and Briedis, D.J. "The carboxy-terminal 18 amino acids of the measles virus hemagglutinin are essential for its biological function." Biochemical Biophysical Research Communication, v. 214, 1995, pp. 1232-1238.
Liston, P. and Briedis, D.J. "Ribosomal frameshifting during translation of the measles virus P protein mRNA is capable of directing synthesis of a unique protein." Journal of Virology, v. 69, 1995, pp. 6742-6750.
Liston, P., DiFlumeri, C. and Briedis, D.J. "Protein interaction domains of proteins expressed from the measles virus P cistron." Virus Research, v. 38, 1995, pp. 241-259.
Liston, P. and Briedis, D.J. "The measles virus V protein binds zinc." Virology, v. 198, 1994, pp. 399-404.
Wardrop, E.A., and Briedis, D.J. "Characterization of V protein in measles virus-infected cells." Journal of Virology, v. 65, 1991, pp. 3421-3428.
Alkhatib, G. and Briedis, D.J. "The predicted primary structure of the measles virus hemagglutinin." Virology, v. 150, 1986, pp. 479-490.