*Dr Wendy van Zuijlen who has recently had a paper accepted to Journal of Virology, titled “Human Cytomegalovirus modulates Expression of non-canonical Wnt receptor ROR2 to Alter Trophoblast Migration.”
During pregnancy Cytomegalovirus (CMV) can infect the placenta and the fetus. In some cases this may lead to hearing loss or malformation of the baby. This study investigated the effect of CMV infection on the Wnt signalling pathway – a pathway critically involved in the development of the placenta.
This study found that: 1) CMV increases the expression of Wnt receptor ROR2, which is a receptor on the cell surface of placental cells, 2) this increase in ROR2 inhibits the movement of placental cells, which is crucial for proper development of the placenta, and 3) Preventing CMV from increasing ROR2 expression partially restored the ability of infected placental cells to move.
Inhibiting CMV from increasing ROR2 may be a target for therapeutics to prevent CMV-induced placental damage during pregnancy, and thereby prevent the effects of fetal CMV infection.
*Dr Ki Wook Kim and Andy Ho (a previous Honours student in our lab) who have had a paper accepted to Diabetes “Coxsackievirus B5 Infection Induces Dysregulation of MicroRNAs Predicted to Target Known Type 1 Diabetes Risk Genes in Human Pancreatic Islets“.
The work represents the very first investigation of microRNA-dysregulation elicited by enterovirus infection in human pancreatic islets. It elucidates a potential mechanistic link between enterovirus infection and its role as the prime environmental trigger of islet autoimmunity and type 1 diabetes.For its significance and relevance to the broader community of type 1 diabetes researchers, the article has been highlighted in Nature Reviews Endocrinology .
These are excellent journals, and demonstrate the high standard of research we achieve in the VRL. Well done!