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We study the molecular mechanisms of viral genome replication process to understand how the viral polymerases operate, how they interact with other viral components to form functional polymerase complexes, and how these ribonucleoprotein assemblies orchestrate their activities. We study several viruses with different levels of complexity with special focus on double-stranded (ds)RNA viruses. Through these studies we want to identify functional and structural conservation among different viruses. Such information facilitates the identification of potential target sites for antiviral drugs. Understanding viral self-assembly can also promote development of gene and drug delivery vehicle.
We use components derived from bacterial viruses as tools to produce dsRNA and small interfering (si)RNA molecules for RNA interference-based applications in biomedicine and agriculture. Our system relays on the use of viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerases resulting in the production of high-quality dsRNA. The RNA molecules can be designed against any viral or cellular target gene and produced either using enzymatic synthesis or synthetic bacterial cells. The resulting siRNA and dsRNA can be used e.g. to combat viral diseases in human or as biopesticides to protect plants against different pathogens and insect pests.