Advances in Electron Microscopy Reveal Secrets of HIV and Other Viruses

Novel Drug Action Against Solid Tumors Explained

HEV Capsid as Multivalent Immunogens or for Drug Delivery Systems

Chemically Activatable Nanocapsid Functionalized For Cancer Targeting

Welcome to Cheng Lab

Our research aims to understand the structure and function of macromolecular interactions by selected model macromolecular systems. Viral structural proteins have the capacity to function both in assembly and in disassembly, which is made possible through a built-in flexibility triggered by cellular events. We observe conformational changes of viral particles at various states of their life cycle to analyze their assembly intermediates as well as the mature forms. Similarly, infectious virions can be treated with numerous conditions, e.g. receptor-mediated genome release or acid-activated membrane fusion, to observe the key steps of viral re-entry into host cells. Using electron microscopy, we apply a rapid-frozen and low-dose imaging procedure to best preserve the biological specimen in its native form. Computer image processing is developed to retrieve most of the useful signal from the low-contrast micrographs. Technical implementation of cryo-EM, cellular tomography, and computational modeling schemes also enables us to address interactions involved in complex biological molecules and/or nanoscale machines.

3D structure of HIV envelope protein sheds light on first contact between virus and cell

The lab of Dr. R Holland Cheng focuses on the structural biology of viruses via cryoelectron microscopy (cryoEM), and its scope of interest includes HIV. Recently, we published a paper in PNAS outlining the structure...

New Look at Influenza Virus

The flu virus carries its genes in eight segments of RNA and proteins. Before escaping from a host cell, the virus has to assemble the right pieces and package them into a complete virus. Scientists think that shuffling these segments allows flu viruses to vary from year to year, producing new infectious strains.


Saving The World With Virus Research

R. Holland Cheng, professor of molecular and cellular biology in the University of California (Davis campus), has been developing novel oral vaccinations against enterovirus infections. The novel vaccinations offer an alternative delivery which would replace injections. Cheng has done research in Sweden and in the US and last December he was appointed in the Finland Distinguished Professor Programme.

HIV Protein Unveils Vaccine Target

An international study headed by a UC Davis scientist describes how a component of a potential HIV vaccine opens like a flower, undergoing one of the most dramatic protein rearrangements yet observed in nature. The finding could reveal new targets for vaccines to prevent HIV infection and AIDS.

Structural modularity in vaccine platform design

Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is a feco-orally transmitted, hepatotropic, non-enveloped virus. Insect cell expressed virus-like particles (VLPs) mimic the virus in terms of their stability and integrity in gut environment1 and at extremes of temperature. Additionally, the tertiary structure of the capsid protein is organized such that extensive modification of the surface-protrusion forming domain (P) does not affect the ability of the dimeric building blocks to assemble into VLPs.

Research Opportnity
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