A/Professor Sassan Asgari
In this laboratory, we are investigating evolutionary adaptations employed by parasites, pathogens and their host insects that play important roles in their interactions. Our focus is on:
Investigating the role of small RNA molecules (microRNAs) in insect biology and host-virus interactions. microRNAs are 19-25 nucleotide noncoding RNA molecules that are expressed by all metazoans and viruses playing significant roles in a variety of biological processes, such as development, immunity, longevity, and viral infections. Exploring virally encoded genes that are responsible for replication, pathogenesis and manipulation of host gene expression machinery. The main virus model that we work on is ascovirus that is a large double stranded DNA virus causing fatal infections in a variety of insect hosts.
Understanding mechanisms evolved by parasitic wasps to manipulate host physiology; including immunity and development. These mechanisms involve injection of ovarian and venom fluids and endosymbiotic virus-like entities (eg. polydnaviruses) into the host during parasitisation which interfere with a variety of physiological pathways. Exploration of these factors has led us to characterize key molecules that interfere with insect cellular and humoral immune components.
Exploring virally encoded genes that are responsible for replication, pathogenesis and manipulation of host gene expression machinery. The main virus model that we work on is ascovirus that is a large double stranded DNA virus causing fatal infections in a variety of insect hosts.
Hussain, M. & Asgari, S. (2010) Functional analysis of a cellular microRNA in insect host-ascovirus interaction. Journal of Virology 84, 612-620.
Hussain, M., Taft, R.J. & Asgari, S. (2008) An insect virus-encoded microRNA regulates viral replication. Journal of Virology 82, 9164-9170.
Asgari, S., Davis, J., Wood, D., Wilson, P. & McGrath, A. (2007) Sequence and organization of Heliothis virescens ascovirus genome. Journal of General Virology 88, 1120-1132.
Asgari, S. (2006) Venom proteins from polydnavirus-producing endoparasitoids: their role in host-parasite interactions. Archives of Insect Biochemistry and Physiology 61, 146-156.
Glatz, R., Asgari, S. & Schmidt, O. (2004) Evolution of polydnaviruses as insect immune suppressors (review). Trends in Microbiology 12, 545-554.
· Society for Invertebrate Pathology
· American Society for Microbiology
· Australian Entomological Society
· Australian Virology Society