Studentship: The impact of African swine fever virus infection on host microRNAs

Lead Research Organisation: The Pirbright Institute
Department Name: UNLISTED


African swine fever virus (ASFV) is the only member of the Asfarviridae family. It causes a severe haemorrhagic disease in pigs resulting in high economic and social costs in affected countries. ASFV is endemic in many regions of Africa and is currently threatening Europe. The disease has been present in Russia since 2007 and is spreading through Eastern Europe with outbreaks in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Poland in 2014. There is no effective vaccine for ASFV therefore spread of the disease is very difficult to control.

The Asfarviridae and Poxviridae family are both double-stranded DNA viruses which replicate solely in the cytoplasm and share close similarities (1). The poxvirus Vaccinia virus (VACV) has recently been shown to cause widespread disruption of host microRNAs (miRNAs) through a process of polyadenylation and decay (2). The first goal of this PhD project will be to determine whether ASFV also polyadenylates and degrades host miRNAs in a fashion analogous to VACV. The second part of the project will determine whether the cellular miRNA system can be manipulated to optimise ASFV vaccines.


10 25 50