Replication of respiratory viruses in human airway epithelial cells
Focus of research
With regard to respiratory infections, the human airway epithelium (HAE) serves as an initial entry point and primary target tissue for respiratory pathogens. In vitro models of primary HAE cells have previously been shown to be highly permissive to infection with various human respiratory viruses, including influenza A virus, human bocavirus and respiratory syncytial virus. In my PhD project, I will inoculate HAE cultures with clinical respiratory sample isolates derived from the GRACE sample cohort. Upon successful infection and intracellular replication, virus isolates will be purified from the cultured cells and investigated by VIDISCA-NGS, followed by analysis of the viral mRNA transcripts. By application of single-cell RNA sequencing on infected cells, I aim to determine cell tropism and the cellular receptor engaged for viral entry. With this regard, I intend to utilize the capacity of HAE culture systems to characterize replication strategies and pathogenesis of previously un-culturable or unknown respiratory viruses and identify potential host targets for anti-viral strategies.