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Seminar: Dr. Stanislava Chtarbanova-Rudloff – As time flies by: studying the impact of aging on Drosophila antiviral defenses
September 1 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Abstract: Research in the Chtarbanova lab focuses on studying the changes in innate immune activation and function in the aging organism and how they relate to disease. We employ genetic, genomic and molecular approaches to understand how the process of aging shapes host-virus interactions, including immune defenses, and how older organisms survive infection. Indeed, viral infections are an important burden among the elderly and are often associated with higher morbidity and mortality. Importantly, with the increasing number of older individuals globally, research in this area could lead to the identification and development of novel interventions that could be used to alleviate the outcomes of infections in older individuals. In the upcoming seminar, I will discuss the efforts employed in our lab to model aged host-virus interactions using the genetically tractable Drosophila melanogaster as the host, and the positive stranded RNA virus Flock House virus (FHV) as the pathogen. Our results implicate modulation of disease tolerance (part of immunity that helps the organism to withstand the pathological consequences of infection but doesn’t affect pathogen load) as a major survival strategy in response to FHV of aged flies, which also depends on the regulation of organismal metabolic rate. Furthermore, we discovered that survival of FHV infection has a genetic basis and can be significantly modulated by factors such as colonization by endosymbiotic bacteria or tetracycline antibiotic treatment. We propose that Drosophila could serve as an excellent experimental system to study the interactions of viruses and their aged hosts and could have long term implications for improving the outcomes of infections among the elderly.