iWAYS "Cell biology of early arbovirus-host cell interactions"

Arboviral infections: host-to-host and cell-to-cell

Our team, iWays, was created in 2020, and officially launched on Jan. 1st, 2021. This new research team synergizes the skills of three researchers from INRAE, (i) Pierre-Yves Lozach (associated to the University Hospital Heidelberg, click here for more details), an expert in advanced imaging and cell biology of virus entry, (ii) Fabienne Archer, a specialist of complex 3D cellular models and extracellular vesicles, and (iii) Carine Maisse-Paradisi (head of the Associated International Laboratory “Zoonotic Emerging Viruses”, LIA ZOE-V, France-China), a specialist of apoptosis in both insects and mammals.

Our research program is essentially focused on arthropod-borne viruses, which are better known by their acronym, arboviruses. This term refers to an exceptionally diverse group of viruses, with over 500 species, transmitted to humans and other vertebrates by multiple arthropods. Many arboviruses are important pathogens in livestock and humans, causing severe health problems, often fatal. Outbreaks are no longer limited to tropical and developing countries. With the human activity and global warming that favors the spread of the arthropod vectors to new areas, arboviruses are emerging and re-emerging agents of disease representing a global threat for agricultural productivity and public health. As such, many arboviruses are listed as high-priority pathogens by the WHO and the need to develop research, diagnostic, and therapeutic tools to combat epidemic and pandemic arboviral infections is urgent.


Our objectives

The overarching objective of our team is to understand how viruses transmitted through tick, sandfly, and mosquito bites infect humans and other mammalian hosts, with the goal to answer the question “How can we interfere with arbovirus infection and spread”. Our central hypothesis is that arthropod-derived viruses gain distinct molecular features in arthropod vectors to enhance their infectivity and replication in mammalian hosts. To test our working hypothesis, we pursue the following three independent but complementary aims:

  1. Host-to-host: cell biology of arbovirus entry
  2. Interplay between viral and cellular factors to coordinate virus amplification
  3. Cell-to-cell: virus spread throughout the host

The iWays team contributes to the fight against SARS-CoV-2

  • On going projects : ◊CovidNanoMed project – ANR ;  ◊Horizon Europe CL6-BIODIV “BCOMING project : Biodiversity Conservation to mitigate the risks of emerging Infectious diseases” ; ◊Horizon Europe Research Infrastructures Programmes :  “ISIDORe : Integrated services for infectious disease outbreak research” (consortium of 17 entities)

Technological skills

  • Fluorescence-based technological approaches in fixe and live cells (microscopy, flow cytometry, and fluorimetry)
  • Biochemical techniques (protein production and purification)
  • Various molecular biology techniques (CRISPR-CAS9, PCR and qRT-PCR, cloning, subcloning)
  • 3D Innovative cell culture systems (polarized, spheroids, organoids) including various insect and mammalian tissues
  • Expertise in isolation and characterization of exosomes
  • Expertise in the characterization of cell death
  • Divers virus models (BSL2, BSL3) including Chikungunya, Germiston, Punta Toro, Rift Valley fever, SARS-CoV-2, Semliki forest, Toscana, and Uukuniemi viruses.

Our team
Our publications
Our financial support

Modification date: 29 June 2023 | Publication date: 19 February 2021 | By: PYL