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Fruit flies show us the road to combat viral infections

PhD defence, Wednesday 13 November 2019. Andreas Holleufer.

2019.11.13 | Sunitha Satkunam

Andreas Holleufer

During his studies, Andreas Holleufer researched the innate immune system. The focus has been a cellular warning system with the task of detecting and fighting certain viral infections. This warning system is based on a central protein called STING which is the connection between the detection of an infection and the cells antiviral defense mechanisms. During the PhD study, Andreas Holleufer has co-authored a scientific study showing that the antiviral STING system also exist in fruit flies. The PhD study as a whole, is a comparison of the STING-based warning system in humans and in fruit flies. The purpose was to determine STING’s original functions and to use the newly gained knowledge about STING in fruit flies to answer unresolved questions regarding STING in humans. The human STING system can activate the expression of specific genes via the proteins IRF3 and NF-ϰB. IRF3 is only present in animals with vertebrates and there is only limited knowledge of how STING activates NF-ϰB. The research results obtained in the study of fruit fly STING showed that STING can be activated in the same way in both humans and fruit flies and it leads to activation of NF-ϰB. Therefore NF-ϰB activation can be the original antiviral function of STING and further studies of fruit flies has the potential to teach us about STING’s activation of NF-ϰB in humans.

The PhD degree was completed at the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Science and Technology, Aarhus University.

This résumé was prepared by the PhD student.

Time: Wednesday 13 November 2019 at 13.00
Place: 1421-Meetingroom 2, Frederik Nielsens Vej 4, 8000 Aarhus C
Title of PhD thesis: An Investigation of STING Activation  in Drosophila melanogaster to Advance the Understanding of cGAS and STING Evolution
Contact information: Andreas Holleufer, e-mail: ah@mbg.au.dk
Members of the assessment committee:
Professor Andreas Pichlmair, School of Medicine, Technische Universität München, Germany
Professor Atlanta Cook, Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell Biology, The University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Associate Professor Ditlev Egeskov Brodersen (chair), Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Aarhus University
Main supervisor:
Professor Rune Hartmann, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Aarhus University
Language: The PhD dissertation will be defended in English

The defense is public.
The PhD thesis is available for reading at the Graduate School of Science and Technology/GSST, Ny Munkegade 120, building 1521, 8000 Aarhus C.

PhD defence
12183 / i43