About This Project
The Bourbon virus carried by ticks is a deadly human virus that will likely spread due to global warming. Currently there is no vaccine for this virus. I plan to make a recombinant vaccine using the known sequence of the virus outer protein. The protein sequences will be evaluated for antigenic domains, subcloned into bacterial expression vectors and purified. The purified proteins will be evaluated for their vaccine efficacy.
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What is the context of this research?
Currently, no one has generated antibodies or vaccines against this virus. The virus was identified by DNA sequencing . I intend to use the known DNA sequence to design and test a recombinant vaccine derived from a segment of the viral envelope gene.The classical vaccine approach of growing virus in culture and then trying to prepare an inactive whole virus as a vaccine, is time consuming. In this case, we have the advantage of knowing the virus sequence , so we can go ahead and prepare viral proteins and test their antigenicity.
What is the significance of this project?
In the near future, because of global warming, I suspect that the ticks that carry Bourbon virus will begin to thrive in northern latitudes.
In some ways this is similar to the spread of lyme disease by global warming.Thus, I suspect that Bourbon virus induced febrile illness will spread. The mortality rate of this virus is very high and there are no antibodies or vaccines available.
What are the goals of the project?
I will examine the sequence of the Bourbon virus envelope protein using the antigenicity bioinformatic algorithm. Segments that are suggested to be highly antigenic, will be synthesized and subcloned into expression vectors. The resulting purified proteins will be injected into mice to determine the segments with the highest antigenicity. In a future phase of this project, these recombinant proteins will be evaluated for their ability to neutralize Bourbon virus infection.
I will examine the sequence of the Bourbon virus envelope protein using the antigenicity bioinformatic algorithm. This algorithm examines the basic properties of the amino acid sequence and predicts whether they will be seen by the immune system.
I have chosen the envelope protein because it is on the outside of the virus and accessible to the immune system. Most viral vaccines are based on envelope proteins.Segments that are suggested to be highly antigenic, will be synthesized and subcloned into expression vectors. The resulting purified proteins will be injected into mice to determine the segments with the highest antigenicity. Mouse serum will be assayed by western blot for antibodies to the original injected proteins. All lab work will be done by a third party vendor ( science exchange ).
Meet the Team
I will use the facilities of Science Exchange to carry out the work. Science Exchange is a platform that connects investigators with small companies that can carry out the technical aspects of a project. For example, I will use it to identify a company that can synthesize my DNA segments.
Henry Furneaux (Jnr)
I am a rising high school student who wants to become a Biotechnology entrepreneur.
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