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Pathobiology Seminar Series

Event Type
Department of Pathobiology
2506 VMBSB, 2001 South Lincoln Avenue, Urbana
Nov 6, 2019   12:00 - 1:00 pm  
Free and open to the public.
Originating Calendar
Pathobiology Calendar


The contribution of protozoal RNA viruses to parasite virulence


Stephen Beverley, PhD

Department of Molecular Microbiology

Washington University School of Medicine


Member, US National Academy of Sciences

Burroughs-Wellcome Scholar in Molecular Parasitology

Fellow, American Academy of Microbiology

Fellow, AAAS


Many eukaryotic microbes possess RNA virus-like elements, the role and significance of which are usually unknown. We have studied the trypanosomatid protozoan parasite Leishmania in South America, which often bear the dsRNA Leishmania virus (LRV1), as a new paradigm of protozoal viral virulence. Like most Totiviruses, LRV1 is neither shed nor infectious, and thus may be viewed as a persistent endosymbiont. Perspectives on the importance of protozoal viruses changed upon discovery that L. guyanensis LRV1 is associated with hypervirulence and increased metastasis in animal models, the latter being a hallmark of the more severe forms of leishmaniasis (Ives et al. Science 2011).  Recently we showed that the presence of LRV1 was associated with increased relapse and/or treatment failures in human L. braziliensis-infected patients treated with pentavalent antimonials in Peru and Bolivia, as well as in L. guyanensis infections treated with pentamidine (Adauai et al & Bourreau et al. J. Inf. Dis 2016). The association of LRV1 with clinical drug treatment failure could serve to guide more effective treatment of tegumentary disease caused by Leishmania sp., possibly through the use of LRV1 inhibitors (Kuhlmann et al PNAS 2017), the first against any totivirus. We have embarked on a systematic survey of known and new viruses in Leishmania as well as other parasites, greatly expanding our knowledge of the parasitic protozoal virome with the discovery of multiple new viruses. The properties, evolution and potential contributions of these to virulence and biology will be discussed.


Wednesday, November 6, 2019 at 12:00 PM

1261 Veterinary Medicine Basic Sciences Building

2001 South Lincoln Avenue, Urbana


For more information contact the Department of Pathobiology at 217-333-2449

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