Andrei Karpov

Physical and structural characterization of the interplay between the cell membranes, actin filaments and Chikungunya protein nsP1 ruling the formation of viral organelles in the host cell

Team: Juan Reguera (AFMB) - Ignacio Casuso (LAI)

His background

October 2022 - present | CENTURI PhD student

2020 - 2022 | Master in Fundamental and Applied Chemistry major - Moscow State University (Russia)

2017 - 2020 | BSc in Chemistry - Moscow State University (Russia)

About his PhD project

The alphaviral protein nsP1 rearranges the cellular cytoskeleton and takes over the membranes as a first step for the generation of viral membranous organelles. nsP1 membrane binding results in the nsP1 oligomerisation in dodecameric pores which activates its capping activity, essential for viral replication and transcription. This is an essential process where membrane binding, membrane bending, protein oligomerisation and allosteric activation of the enzyme are coupled. We have preliminary data showing nsP1 bending membranes by AFM and binding actin filaments by sedimentation and electron microscopy. This thesis aims to explore the forces, structures and dynamics ruling viral organelle formation by the interplay of actin, cell membranes and nsP1. We will provide a model for understanding the formation of cell membranous organelles.