Poonam Malik has recently received a grant from the Royal Society to study how the nucleo-cytoplasmic import pathway is regulated and managed in eukaryotic cells using herpesviruses as model organism.
The involvement of herpesviruses in a range of prominent medical and veterinary diseases makes them one of the most important virus families. Herpesviruses are well adapted to their hosts and productive infections may be inapparent but with a degree of immune suppression eg following drug therapy for cancer or organ transplantation, or AIDS, infections can be life threatening. Several herpesviruses are implicated in different types of cancer. The separation of transcription in the nucleus and translation in the cytoplasm requires nucleocytoplasmic exchange of proteins and RNAs in the cells. Most proteins move through the nuclear pores in an energy-dependent process mediated by nucleocytoplasmic shuttling receptors of the importin-ß (karyopherin) family that are translocated via interaction with nucleoporins, proteins of the nuclear pore complex. Investigation would be carried out to elucidate the trafficking pathways used in infected cells.
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