Speaker: Ken Stedman (Portland State University)
Title: Viruses from Hell: From Fuselloviruses to Better Vaccines
Date & Time: 12.07.2023, 9 a.m.
Host: Bastian Molitor
Venue: 3M07, GUZ
Volcanic hot springs contain an astonishing diversity of viruses and minerals. One of the best studied viruses from these environments is the spindle-shaped Fusellovirus SSV1 that infects Archaea. We have shown that not only does SSV1 have a unique shape, which could serve as a paradigm for unusual virus structures, but also that the SSV1 genome is incredibly flexible. Using a combination of comparative genomics and molecular genetic tools we showed that only about half of the virus-encoded genes required for function and multiple genes thought to be essential are not. Using SSV1 in studies of virus fossilization, we showed that SSV1 is resistant to mineralization. Surprisingly, during these studies, we discovered how to stabilize vaccines.