Research Projects

Molecular Mechanism of Paramyxovirus assembly:

Paramyxoviruses are assembled at the plasma membrane budding sites after synthesis of all the structural components in the cytoplasm. Although viral ribonuclocapsid (vRNP) is an essential component of infectious virions, the process of vRNP translocation to assembly sites is poorly understood. We rescued a recombinant SeV, rSeV-LeGFP whose L is fused with GFP. Analysis of LeGFP movement using time-lapse digital video microscopy revealed directional and saltatory movement of LeGFP along microtubules. Also, the vRNPs co-localized with Rab11a protein, which is known to regulate the recycling endocytosis pathway and Golgi-to-plasma membrane trafficking. Simultaneous movement between LeGFP and Rab11a was also observed in infected cells, which constitutively express mRFP-tagged Rab11a.Our results strongly suggest a previously unrecognized involvement of the intracellular vesicular trafficking pathway in vRNP translocation.

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Role of Influenza Polymerase in Host Adaptation:

The direct infection of humans with highly pathogenic avian H5N1 influenza viruses has suggested viral mutation as one mechanism for the emergence of influenza pandemics. Although the polymerase complex is known to be a key component in host adaptation, mutations that enhance the polymerase activity of avian viruses in mammalian hosts are not fully characterized. We characterize the polymerase activities of avian and human strains, and revealed key residues and subunits of the polymerase complex important for the enhanced activity in mammalian hosts in vitro and in vivo.

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Principal Investigator Photo of Toru Takimoto, Ph. D.

Toru Takimoto, Ph. D.

Associate Professor of Microbiology & Immunology

Contact Information:

University of Rochester
School of Medicine
and Dentistry
601 Elmwood Ave, Box 672
Rochester, New York 14642

Phone: (585) 273-2856
Lab: (585) 273-2894
Fax: (585) 473-9573

E-mail Dr. Takimoto