B. V. V. Prasad, Ph.D.
Department of Biochemistry
Structure-Function of Gastroenteritis Viruses
Research in our laboratory is focused on establishing structure-function relationships in medically important viruses that are human or animal pathogens. The current focus is on viruses that are causative agents of endemic severe diarrhea in humans. These viruses include rotaviruses and human caliciviruses. Rotavirus is the major pathogen of infantile gastroenteritis. More than a million children die every year because of rotaviral gastroenteritis. Recently several other viruses also have been shown to be causative agents of endemic diarrhea in humans, including Norwalk virus and Norwalk-like viruses in the Caliciviridae family. Our 3-dimensional structural analyses have provided architectural descriptions of these viruses. Our studies on rotavirus using monoclonal antibodies, reassortants and baculovirus-expressed virus-like particles have provided insights into molecular mechanisms of cell entry, infectivity, transcription and assembly of rotavirus.
Rotavirus is a member of Reoviridae. Comparative structural analyses of other members in this family, such as bluetongue virus, orthoreovirus, and aquareovirus, are being carried out to provide a unified picture of the molecular mechanisms underlying the morphogenesis and pathogenesis of these large, multi-layered, complex viruses. We have recently determined the three-dimensional structure of Norwalk virus, a prototypic human calicivirus, to near atomic resolution using X-ray crystallographic techniques. In addition to studies on the mature capsids we have been working on nonstructural proteins of these viruses. Presently the focus has been on two nonstructural proteins of rotavirus—NSP4 and NSP2. NSP4 is a membrane-anchored ER protein that functions as an intracellular receptor facilitating the budding of rotavirus particles through the ER membrane. NSP4 has also been shown to be a viral enterotoxin. NSP2 is an NTPase that has been suggested to be involved in packaging of the viral genome. We are using both three-dimensional electron cryomicroscopy and X-ray crystallographic techniques to understand structure-function relationships in these.
Department of Molecular Virology & Microbiology
Baylor College of Medicine
One Baylor Plaza, MS BCM385
Houston, TX, 77030, U.S.A.
Ph.D. - Indian Institute of Science, India
Postdoctoral - Indian Institute of Science and University of Arizona