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Entry of Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome virus into macrophages

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  • Full or part time
    Prof A Archibald
    Prof P Digard
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

BBSRC Animal Research Club - 4 year PhD studentship

Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome Virus (PRRSV) is an endemic positive-sense RNA virus belonging to the family Arteriviridae that causes significant economic losses to the pig industry worldwide. The virus primarily affects pregnant sows and piglets, causing abortion and in piglets, up to 100% mortality. Vaccination strategies are ineffective but the exciting prospect of genetically engineering pigs for virus resistance is in prospect. These strategies revolve around altering critical host proteins that the virus relies on to infect the host.

PRRSV infects specific types of macrophages, which are primarily found in the lung. The current model for PRRSV entry holds that the virus enters via receptor and clathrin-mediated endocytosis into the host cell. Then it requires a second receptor, CD163, in order to fuse and release its genome into the host cell cytoplasm. Whereas the general concept of PRRSV entry has been outlined the specifics of the process still remain unclear.

This 4 year CASE studentship will investigate three major aspects of PRRSV entry into macrophages: 1) to understand the endocytic pathways that assist PRRSV entry and fusion; 2) to identify and characterize the role of cellular receptors and their interactions with viral proteins; and 3) to assess the role of structural and non-structural viral proteins in host cell type specificity. Overall, this project will generate a cohesive understanding of PRRSV-macrophage host cell interaction, identifying mechanisms involved in PRRSV entry. It will also improve the understanding of macrophage cell biology and identify potential cellular targets for preventing PRRSV infection.

The successful candidate will learn and apply a wide variety of virological, cell biological, and biochemical techniques, e.g. cell culture of primary cells and immortalized cell lines, (co-) immunoprecipitation, western blotting, fluorescence microscopy, fluorescence-activated cell sorting, TCID50 assays, and many more. Experience in any of these fields and techniques is helpful but not absolutely required. Candidates should be able to communicate research both at a general level and to scientific peers.

The successful applicant will join the Archibald and Digard groups (links below) at The Roslin institute of the University of Edinburgh. This studentship is associated with a BBSRC Animal Health Research Club research project co-funded by Genus plc to engineer resistance to PRRSV using genome editing technologies in cells and pigs.

For further information please contact [email protected] or [email protected]

Applications including a full CV with names and addresses (including email addresses) of two academic referees, should be sent to: Liz Archibald, Postgraduate Research Student Administration, The Roslin Institute and R(D)SVS, The University of Edinburgh, Easter Bush, Midlothian, EH25 9RG. Or emailed to [email protected]

When applying for the studentship please state clearly the title of the studentship and the supervisors in your covering letter.

Funding Notes

All candidates should have or expect to have a minimum of an appropriate upper 2nd class degree. To qualify for funding students must be UK or EU citizens who have been resident in the UK for 3 years prior to commencement.

How good is research at University of Edinburgh in Clinical Medicine?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 206.93

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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