virus biophysics and structure: Lee Lab

Viruses undergo dramatic structural reorganizations at many critical stages of their life cycles including during host cell invasion, membrane fusion, genome expulsion, assembly, and cell egress. The changes often involve concerted changes among hundreds of protein components and in the case of enveloped viruses, membranes as well. From this perspective, virions are intricate, nano-scale cell-invasion and replication machines. The dynamic structural transitions are attractive targets for anti-viral therapeutics that would jam the machinery and arrest viral infections.

We use biophysical, structural, and biochemical techniques including X-ray scattering (SAXS), cryo-electron microscopy (cryoEM), hydrogen/deuterium-exchange with mass spectrometry (HDX-MS), and fluorescence microscopy to understand the function of viral machinery.

The viruses we study include influenza A virus, HIV, hepatitis B virus, and dsDNA bacteriophages. In studies of influenza virus, we are focused on understanding the process of membrane fusion and fusion protein activation. In studies of HIV, we seek to understand the structural determinants of Env glycoprotein antigenicity and immunogenicity as a means of helping development of HIV vaccine immunogens.

Viral Machines:
Structural transitions in viral life cycles

The Lee lab is in the Medicinal Chemistry Department, University of Washington, Seattle.

We are located in the

H-wing of the UW Health Sciences Building.

The lab is a participant in the Biological Physics, Structure and Design Program (BPSD). Dr. Lee also holds an adjunct appointment in the Microbiology Department and is a member of the interdepartmental Pathobiology Program. Thus students from these programs are also eligible to join the lab.

Left panel image by Houshang Wekili; Middle lower image courtesy of Dr. Lu Gan; Other images by KKL