The role of RNA structure in chikungunya virus replication.

   Faculty of Biological Sciences

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  Dr A.K Tuplin, Prof M Harris  No more applications being accepted

About the Project

Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is transmitted to humans by infected mosquitos in the tropics and sub-tropics. It is classified as an emerging virus, which since 2004 has reached epidemic proportions and is a considerable cause of disease and morbidity. There are no vaccines or specific drugs to treat it. CHIKV has an RNA genome which folds to form RNA-structures that, through interactions with host and viral factors, are believed vital for controlling virus replication.

This project will use cutting-edge molecular and structural biology techniques to reveal how CHIKV RNA-structures behave and interact with other viral and cellular components within the cell - using during live infection and sub-genomic reporter systems. The long-term aim of our research is to elucidate how CHIKV controls different aspects of genome replication/translation and develop new therapeutic drug targets.

Funding Notes

Funding for this project is available through the following scheme (Only open to UK and EU nationals):

University of Leeds 110 Anniversary Research Scholarships:

Successful applicants will receive payment to cover their University fees for three years and a maintenance grant matching the Research Council UK rate.

For further details and instructions on how to apply please see.

Further studentships are available for international or domestic self-funded or scholarship/fellowship PhDs. International students must have a good command of both written and spoken English. Bench fees will be required if you are self-funded. Contact the supervisor for further details.


Tuplin, A., Struthers, M., Simmonds, P., and Evans, D. J. (2012) A twist in the tail: SHAPE mapping of long-range interactions and structural rearrangements of RNA elements involved in HCV replication. Nucleic Acids Research. 40 (14), 6908

Tuplin, A., Evans, D. J., Gould, E. A., and Gritsun, T.S. (2011) Replication enhancer elements within the open reading frame of tick-borne encephalitis virus and their evolution within the Flavivirus genus. Nucleic Acids Research 39 (16), 7034

Sinéad Diviney, Andrew Tuplin, Madeleine Struthers, Victoria Armstrong, Richard M. Elliott, Peter Simmonds and David J. Evans. (2008) A Hepatitis C Virus cis-Acting Replication Element Forms a Long-Range RNA-RNA Interaction with Upstream RNA Sequences in NS5B. J Virol, 82, 9008

Foster T.L., Belyaeva T., Stonehouse N.J., Pearson A.R., Harris M. (2010) All Three Domains of the Hepatitis C Virus Nonstructural NS5A Protein Contribute to RNA Binding J Virol 84 9267

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