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Friday 1 November 2013 11:35am

University of Otago researchers have gained $13 million from the prestigious 2013 Marsden Funding round to carry out world-class research in a total of 22 research projects.

“They are outstanding in their fields, continuing the proud tradition at Otago for excellence in research that contributes to both national and world knowledge across a wide spectrum of disciplines. They have done extremely well to successfully attract the funding in a round that is so highly competitive.”
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) Professor Richard Blaikie.

BAFfled: how does orf virus defeat the BAF cellular defence mechanism?

It was shown recently that a eukaryotic protein, BAF, is part of the cell's innate defences against viral infection. Most poxviruses defeat this defence by using a viral kinase to phosphorylate BAF. However, we have identified some poxviruses that lack this kinase.

How then do these viruses counteract BAF?

We will identify the factor these viruses use to defeat BAF and characterise its mechanism of action. This project will define a new mechanism by which viruses evade cellular defences and shine new light on the activities of BAF, an essential cellular factor.

Professor Mercer's project attracted $800,000.

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