Susceptibility of a cell to virus infection is dependent on the ability of the virus to enter the cell, which is mediated by compatibility of the virus with cellular membrane components. Upon gaining access to the cell, the virus will need to replicate, which is an intricate process involving the interplay of numerous viral and cellular components.
An important feature of virus-host interaction is the antiviral repertoire with which every animal cell is equipped. All of these cells are equipped with extracellular and intracellular pattern recognition receptors (PRRs), which detect viral pathogen associated molecular patterns (PAMP’s) like ssRNA, dsRNA or glycoproteins. Activation of these PRRs leads to the induction of the innate and adaptive immune response through excretion of pro-inflamatory cytokines and type-1 interferons.
Joeri’s project aims at the understanding of viral entry and subsequent intracellular innate responses to viral infection. Avian viruses and avian primary cells and cell lines are used as a model system.