New Scholar Award in Global Infectious Disease
Keril J. Blight, Ph.D.
Washington University

Characterization of the NS4B Protein in Hepatitis C Virus

With approximately 3% of the population worldwide infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) and no protective vaccine available, this disease has emerged as a serious global health problem. The recent development of subgenomic HCV replicons capable of replicating efficiently in cell culture now facilitates studies on the poorly understood nonstructural protein 4B (NS4B). The NS4B protein, an integral endoplasmic reticulum membrane protein, is believed to be an essential component of the HCV replication complex.

The objectives of my research under the Ellison Medical Foundation are to characterize the membrane topology of NS4B in cells supporting subgenomic HCV replication and to define key elements of NS4B required for HCV replication with the long-term goal of understanding its role in the virus life cycle. Additionally, we hope to uncover critical regions of NS4B which may be potential targets for therapeutic intervention of HCV infection.

Contact Dr. Blight.