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Research group Dynamics of early viral infection and the innate antiviral response

Headed by: Dr. Marco Binder

Dr. Marco Binder

IIC / ATV building, room 2.213

Phone: +49 6221 42-4974
Email: m.binder[at]dkfz.de

Our Interests

Infection mediated carcinogenesis can involve pathogen-encoded oncogenes (e.g. the human papilloma virus early genes E6/E7), but it always requires the establishment of a chronic/persistent infection. Even in the absence of classical oncogenes, long-term presence of antigens that lead to the development of an inflammatory environment within the host organ result in favorable conditions for the development of cancer (see the recent mini-review by Scott A. Read and Mark W. Douglas).

Our research group focuses on viral infections and strives to understand the primordial failure of the innate immune system to clear the virus. While our underlying goal is comprehending and ultimately interfering with the chronification of hepatitis C virus, we study the mechanisms behind pathogen recognition and subsequent antiviral signaling in the context of model viruses and systems that can be more stringently controlled. Our models include, amongst others, vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), Rift valley fever virus (RVFV) or virus-free stimulation of the cellular antiviral system by transfection of ligand RNAs or constitutively active signaling molecules. With molecular and cellular biological and biochemical techniques we dissect the cellular pathways leading to the induction of type I and III interferons in addition to the proinflammatory system. We then apply modern systems biological approaches and mathematical modeling to integrate this knowledge into a comprehensive framework of interactions. This will be essential for the understanding of complex inter-dependencies between the virus and its host cell in the course of establishing a persistent infection and mounting of an inflammatory response, both being critical determinants for the eventual initiation of cancer development.

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