A project that started when our lab was in its infancy is finally published: Selma’s study on poliovirus assembly and membrane envelopment, and its relation to autophagy.
It would not be an exaggeration to refer to this paper as Selma’s opus magnum: she started by establishing the cell culture and virology from scratch, and then she was the first person to set up FIB milling and tomography in the then-brand-new cryo-EM facility at UCEM. Hundreds of tomograms later (not to mention virological assays, pharmacological manipulations, and image processing), the paper reveals multiple completely novel aspects of poliovirus assembly and autophagic release. For the first time, assembly of a non-enveloped virus is shown to take place on membranes. We also show that the assembly gets stuck half way if the lipid kinase VPS34 is inhibited, and that virus-induced autophagy of virions is selective for genome-loaded capsids.
This project also included our PhD student Kasturika Shankar, our previous project student Björn Ahlman as well as collaborators at the NIH (Adeline Kerviel and Nihal Altan-Bonnet), Monash University (Michael Lazarou) and the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (Dustin Morado).
For other takes on the paper, see e.g. Umeå University’s news article and our short thread on twitter (including movies!). MIMS also has a nice article focussing more on how this research was enabled by Umeå’s visionary investments in cryo-EM.
And of course, the paper itself is Open Access at Nature communications: