Final Activity Report Summary - VIRUS ENTRY (Cell entry of influenza a virus and human cytomegalovirus)
Influenza virus belongs to the class of emerging pathogens and due to recent threats of new pandemics attracts even more public attention. As most viruses influenza viruses have the ability to mutate rapidly emerging thereby creating new strains with unknown human pathogenic potential. Numerous attempts were made by industry to develop an antiviral drug against Influenza which keeps functional over a longer period of time. The last example Tamiflu already showed escape mutants recently. Therefore it is even of more relevance to investigate the injection mechanism of Influenza virus in more detail. After binding of the virus to the cell surface the virus needs to be endocytosed in order to enter the cell and fuse at a later step with host cell membrane. This research project was centred on the fundamental question how influenza virus enters the cell in general and to identify essential factors required. First of all two independent ways how to enter the cell could be identified for influenza virus and characterised in more molecular detail. In order to identify host cell factors required for influenza viruses endocytosis a new screening system was established to investigate the role of host cell factors in this process systematically which in principle allows studying the role of all human genes in the infection mechanism of influenza viruses.