Combining bioinformatics and experimental approaches to learn RNA viruses

Poster number: 0

Alexander E. Gorbalenya

  1. Department of Medical Microbiology, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands

In this talk, the power and challenges of cooperation between bioinformatics and experimental approaches in the dissection of the remarkable diversity of RNA viruses will be discussed using results of our analysis of large virus groups, including the Flaviviridae. A common denominator of these studies is that they relied upon evolutionary models, which were inferred from very remote relationships uncovered by in-depth bioinformatics analysis. We observed that when two approaches produce conflicting data, a breakthrough insight into RNA viruses could be generated. The gained expertise and experience are now used in the framework of the EU FP6 VIZIER project for the systematic identification of potential drug targets in the replicative apparatus of RNA viruses.