Viruses of hyperthermophilic archaea and their proteins are particularly suitable for applications in biotechnology, because their high stability in different extreme conditions and solutes, The ongoing projects concern utilization of the rod-shaped virion of the virus SIRV2 as a template for site-selective and spatially controlled bioconjugation with chemical compounds and development of SIRV2 virions for potential applications in medicine.
The remarkable properties of the protein P98 of virus SIRV2, capable of self assembly into the pyramids of 7-fold symmetry, VAPs, on any kind of biological membranes from all three domains of life, determine its potential for the development of general membrane-remodelling systems. Embedding of P98 in the lipid layer enables development of a scaffold to achieve endolysosomal escape of cargos and drug delivery.
The results on the structural analysis of SIRV2 virion strongly suggest that adopting A-form DNA might be a previously unknown biological mechanism to withstand adverse conditions. In SIRV2 virions condensation of the dsDNA in A-form results from interaction with the molecules of major capsid protein which tightly wraps around DNA, making it inaccessible to solvent. We plan to exploit the available information on the SIRV2 structure and on the basis of its major capsid protein develop new materials that encapsidate, stabilize and protect DNA under a very large range of conditions.
Considering the architectural similarity of some archaeal viruses from our collection, e.g. Lipothrixviridae and Globuloviridae, with highly pathogenic viruses infecting humans, Filoviridae and Paramyxoviridae, respectively, archaeal viruses may be used as surrogates for developing new ways of pathogenic virus decontamination.