Research in the Barklis lab focuses on the assembly and replication of viruses, such as retroviruses, flaviviruses and hantaviruses, using molecular genetic, biochemical and biophysical techniques. Molecular genetic and biochemical are employed to investigate viral protein interactions, RNA recognition and encapsidation, and cellular factors involved in virus replication and assembly. To analyze virus particles, proteins and macromolecular complexes, a variety of biophysical methods are utilized, including sedimentation, crosslinking, fluorescence microscopy, fluorescence anisotropy, transmission electron microscopy (EM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM).
One set of recent investigations concentrates on the identification and analysis of small molecule inhibitors of virus replication. A second avenue of inquiry concerns the mechanisms that govern how HIV structural proteins assemble conical, cylindrical and spherical cores. Our third major area of research focuses on protein-protein and protein-lipid interactions of retrovirus membrane-binding proteins. Ultimately, we believe our studies will lead to the development of new antivirals and a better understanding of the basic principles controlling macromolecular assembly.