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. A major focus is investigating the mechanisms and impact of Wolbachia-mediated antiviral protection in Drosophila.
Osborne S.E., Iturbe-Ormaetxe I, Brownlie J.C., O’Neill S.L. and Johnson K.N. (2012). Antiviral protection and the importance of Wolbachia density and tissue tropism in Drosophila simulans. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 78: 6922-6929
Hedges, L.M., Yamada R., O’Neill S.L. and Johnson K.N. (2012). The small interfering RNA pathway is not essential for Wolbachia-mediated antiviral protection in Drosophila melanogaster. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 78: 6773-6776
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.
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
Cellular and molecular interactions of rhabdoviruses with their plant hosts and insect vectors
Grant Body: ARC
Grant Period: 2011-2014
Value: $147 000
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