Project: Role of suppressor of cytokine signalling proteins in viral encephalitis
The suppressor of cytokine signalling (SOCS) proteins are key negative regulators of the JAK-STAT pathway and are responsible for controlling cytokine networks involved in immune response and inflammation. SOCS are expressed in the central nervous system (CNS) and by cells infiltrating the CNS during infection, and have a potential to impact the immune responses in the brain. We have recently shown that SOCS4- and SOCS5-deficient mice have different susceptibility phenotypes to Semliki Forest virus infection and that the virus RNA persists in the brain, and infectious virus can be reactivated following immunosuppression. This project aims to explore a role of SOCS4 and SOCS5 during SFV induced encephalitis in a mouse model.
The Fazakerley group’s main interest is in the pathogenesis of infections caused by RNA viruses, in particular vector-borne (arbovirus) alphaviruses infections of the central nervous system and insect vectors. Our main focus is to dissect the immune mechanisms during viral encephalitis and virus persistence in the central nervous system. We also investigate the arthropod responses to alphaviruses and study their transmission in mosquito vectors.