Dr Karyn Johnson
Insects are commonly infected with viruses. We study the interactions between viruses and their insect or arthropod hosts.
Viruses are obligate parasites, that is, they are completely dependent on the host cell machinery to complete their replication cycle. During infection, viruses commonly cause pathology in the host. For these reasons, viruses and hosts are in a constant evolutionary arms race. The host evolves antiviral mechanisms to prevent virus infection, while the virus adapts to overcome these host responses. Insects are ideal hosts to understand both the host response and the virus mechanisms for controlling the host.
My research group investigates the interactions between viruses and insects, primarily using Drosophila as a model. In this model we can control the genetics of both the host and the virus to tease apart the contribution of each partner to the interaction. We are also investigating the interaction between viruses and both pest and beneficial invertebrate species, including prawns.
Osborne S.E., Leong Y, O’Neill S.L. and Johnson K.N. 2009. Variation in antiviral protection mediated by different Wolbachia strains in Drosophila simulans. Plos Pathogens, 5: e1000656.
Ambrose R.L., Lander G.C., Maaty W.S., Bothner B., Johnson J.E. and Johnson K.N. 2009. Drosophila A virus is an unusual RNA virus with a T=3 icosahedral core and permuted RNA-dependent RNA Polymerase. Journal of General Virology, 90: 2191-2200
Brownlie J.C. and Johnson K.N. 2009. Symbiont-mediated protection in insect hosts. Trends in Microbiology, 17: 348-354
Hedges L.M., Brownlie J.C., O’Neill S.L. and Johnson K.N. 2008. Wolbachia and virus protection in insects. Science 322: 702
Hedges L.M. and Johnson K.N. 2008. Induction of host defence responses by Drosophila C virus. Journal of General Virology 89: 1497-1501
Understanding the mechanism of Wolbachia-mediated antiviral protection
Grant Body: ARC
Grant Period: 2010-2012
Value: $520 000
· American society for virology
· Society of invertebrate pathology
· Australian Virology Group