P2 (Blaum)

Differential Roles of Two Types of Glycans for Cell Attachment and Entry of Merkel Cell Polyomavirus.

TEM image of MCPyV virus-like particles
TEM image of MCPyV virus-like particles

Our goal is to thoroughly characterize the receptor-binding and entry mechanism of the ongogenic Merkel Cell Polyomavirus (MCPyV). This virus employs a sequential attachment and entry mechanism that relies on both sialic acid and glycosaminoglycans. The dual use of two types of glycans is so far unique in this family. We use virus-like particles and pseudovirions to study interactions with these ligands in vitro and in cell culture. As structural biologists, we make strong use of protein crystallography and NMR spectroscopy to obtain an understanding of the virus-glycan interaction at atomic resolution, and we collaborate with P4, P8 and P7 for cell-based assays, native mass spectrometry, and the design and in vitro applications of heteromultivalent glycopolymers in the context of MCPyV.

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