WARF: P04029US

Yeast Genes That Affect Viral Replication


Paul Ahlquist, Masayuki Ishikawa, Juana Diez, B. Duane Price, Wai-Ming Lee

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) is seeking commercial partners interested in developing a method to prevent the replication of positive strand RNA viruses.
OVERVIEWPositive-strand RNA viruses cause several major diseases of animals, plants and humans and show promise as vectors for gene therapy. Many steps in the replication of these viruses depend on specific host factors.
THE INVENTIONUW-Madison researchers have used their knowledge of essential host genes to offer a promising new way to prevent the replication of positive strand RNA viruses. Through the development of a system in which brome mosaic virus (BMV) is able to replicate in yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae), they have discovered that mutations in four novel yeast genes (MAB1, MAB2, MAB3 and OLE1) severely inhibit RNA-dependant RNA replication of BMV. 

The researchers have developed methods for creating virus-resistant organisms that contain mutated MAB1, MAB2, MAB3 and OLE1 transgenes, or transgenes that alter the expression of the MAB and OLE genes. Their discovery also may be used to screen libraries of chemicals for potential antiviral agents that affect the expression, stability and activity of MAB and OLE genes and proteins.
  • Developing antiviral agents for preventing and treating hepatitis, encephalitis hemorrhagic fever, foot and mouth disease and many other clinically- and economically-important diseases of humans, plants and animals
  • Improving expression from viral-derived vectors for gene expression and gene therapy applications
  • Because RNA replication is highly conserved among positive strand RNA viruses and is absent from uninfected host cells, this process provides an ideal target for broad-spectrum antiviral agents.
  • Allows the identification of novel host genes in other organisms that are critical to viral replication 
For More Information About the Inventors
Contact Information
For current licensing status, please contact Mark Staudt at or 608-960-9845.
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