Flaviviruses are primarily vectored by mosquitos, and encompass 35 strains known to cause human disease, making them a ubiquitous threat to human health. The DENV NS5 RNA capping enzyme plays a necessary role in flavivirus replication. The flavivirus 5’ RNA cap serves to facilitate viral genome replication, viral protein translation, prevention of viral genome degradation, and immune evasion. DENV NS5 utilizes the substrates DENV2 GTP and dephosphorylated viral RNA to facilitate the formation of the cap. However, DENV NS5 has been found to possess multiple active sites such that it is a polyfunctional enzyme, catalyzing multiple steps in cap formation. Therefore NS5 possesses unique targets for developing inhibitory antivirals and to achieve this, so the focus of my work is elucidation of the mechanisms this enzyme employs during cap formation, the energetics involved, as well as both and molecular and atomic level of understanding of what occurs in these active sites.
EducationMSBA - Business Administration, Colorado State University, 2005BS - Microbiology, Colorado State University, 1993
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