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Message started by YaBB Administrator on 16.03.2007 at 13:16:17

Title: Irina Sominska
Post by YaBB Administrator on 16.03.2007 at 13:16:17

Research group was founded in 1995 and started with fine-mapping of viral epitopes. Later the area of interests became wider and concentrated on two points:

1.      Displaying of viral epitopes on capsid-forming carriers, so-called virus-like particles (VLPs), with an aim to construct putative vaccine and gene therapy tools; comparison of such kind of vaccines with DNA-based vaccines.
2.      Molecular monitoring of viral genomes (HBV, HCV, HGV) in Latvia and neighboring countries.
The group includes PhD, Master and Bachelor students in molecular biology, genetics and protein engineering. The team members have experience in the organizing of international training courses (FEBS, UNESCO, ICRO) and take part in the work of  the European Marie Curie Training Site in VLP technologies ("Artificial chimeric proteins as diagnostic, vaccine, and gene therapy carriers") with Dr. Paul Pumpens as a coordinator. This work is going in frame of grants (04.1344; 05.1626) and program of Latvian Scientific Council and several international grants (EU, NATO, Visby, Osmoze) and in close collaboration with Latvian Infectology Center. At the BMC group is working in collaboration with groups of Dr. T. Kozlovska, Dr. A. Dishlers, Dr. D. Skrastina and Dr.E.Stankevica.

Research Team
Irina Sominska, PhD
group leader
Juris Jansons
PhD student
Marija Mihailova

Gunita Sudmale
Ēriks  Kušners

Technical support
Irina Stahovska

Larisa Kovalevska
Ināra Akopjana

Dzidra Dreiliņa

Title: Re: Irina Sominska
Post by YaBB Administrator on 16.03.2007 at 13:21:43

LZP Projects

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection: qualitative and quantitative aspects of HCV persistence

Project leaders: Ludmila Vīksna,  Irina Sominska

The hepatitis C virus (HCV) is 1 of 7 known hepatitis viruses. Since HCV was first cloned in 1989, substantial progress has been made in characterizing its molecular biology. But the natural history of HCV infection still is largely unclear, and current treatment options for patients are limited. Chronic HCV infection can lead to liver inflammation, cirrhosis, cancer and death. In practice, the expected 100% correlation between the level of HCV viremia and serious liver damage was not verifiable. The details of HCV persistence regularities in patients with acute and chronic HCV infection are still remain unclear.

The aim of this project is to investigate the qualitative and quantitative characteristics of HCV and to elucidate the mechanisms of acute and chronic HCV infection development and course under continuous conditions of micro- and macroorganism interactions.

Obtained data will be employed for the
1) elucidation of HCV persistence, clearance and latency mechanisms;
2) appropriate interpretation of HCV diagnostics data and HCV infection treatment results.

Construction of anti-HCV vaccine prototypes

Project leader: Irina Sominska

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a major cause of chronic hepatitis, liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma worldwide. Presently, there is no universal high effective therapy and vaccines against HCV infection. To develop such a vaccine is important to define a strategy that evokes strong immune response to variable and conserved regions of the virus.
The main aim of the study is to construct new prototypes of vaccine for protection against HCV infection.
We plan to compare the immunogenicity of a plasmid vector encoding different HCV  polyprotein fragments delivered either as plasmid DNA, or as recombinant HBcAg expressing the same HCV genes, or in combination, using an HCV DNA-prime and recombinant protein boost.
Hepatitis B core antigen (HBcAg) due to its unique icosahedral structure and ability to high level synthesis and correct self-assembly in most of homologues and heterologues systems is one of the most popular carriers for foreign epitopes. It is accepted that HBcAg carrier is capable of ensuring a high level of B-cell and T-cell immunogenicity to foreign sequences.  B- and T- cell epitopes will be inserted into major immunodominant region (MIR) of the HBcAg carriers. The C-terminal part of the HBcAg is however the best place for insertion of CTL epitopes. In parallel we plan to use a standard plasmid driven by CMV promoter for insertion of HCV genes.
We expect that immunological characterisation of obtained proteins and evaluation of results of mouse immunisation will help not only to design new antiviral vaccines, but also to generate new therapeutic tools.


Molecular and Epidemiological Study of Multiresistance and Genetic Variability of Infections Agent, 2002-2005

Programme leaders: L. Vīksna, A. Martinsons
Project leader from BMC side: Prof. Paul Pumpens.

The main cause of chronic liver disease are hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C (HCV) virus. More than 250 million of people are carriers of HBV and 25-40 % of them suffers from liver cirrhosis and hepatocarcinoma. At the same time HCV incidence increases and sometimes these two infections exist together. During the last few years a series of virus variants and mutants have been identified. Polymerase chain reaction and sequencing of amplified product enable the accurate pinpointing of genetic alteration. The aim of this project is to evaluate the occurrence of mutations and their significance in the course of single and double HBV/HCV infection. DNA and RNA will be isolated from patients� sera and viral genes will be monitored for the presence of substitutions, deletions and insertions by PCR sequencing. Data on distribution and epidemiological importance of mutated HBV and HCV genomes will be used for further investigations in diagnosis and prevention of hepatitis in Latvia.  

Main International Projects:

Integrated Project "Rational design and standardized evaluation of novel genetic vaccines" (EC projekts).
Project leader from BMC side: Prof. Pauls Pumpens.

Molecular monitoring of HBV and HCV infection in Latvia, genomic variations of HBV and HCV in the presence and absence of HIV infection (with Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, ASV).
Project leader from BMC side: Prof. Pauls Pumpens.

Title: Re: Irina Sominska
Post by YaBB Administrator on 16.03.2007 at 13:22:16

Recent publications:

1.      Dumpis U., Kovaļova Ž., Jansons J., Čupane L., Sominskaya I., Michailova M., Karayiannis P., Gardovska D., Viazov S., Ross S., Roggendorf M., Pumpens P. An outbreak of HBV and HCV infection in a paediatric oncology ward: Epidemiological investigations and prevention of further spread. J.Med.Virol., 2003, 69(3):331-338.

2.      Mihailova M., Sominskaya I., Jansons J., Rozentals R., Pumpens P. Structural features of hepatitis B virus from long-term immunosuppressed patients in Latvia. Proceedings of Latvian Academy of Science Section B, 2003, 57, (5): 158-163.

3.      Kazaks A., Borisova G., Cvetkova S., Kovalevska L., Ose V., Sominskaya I., Pumpens P., Skrastina D., Dislers A. Mosaic hepatitis B core particles presenting complete preS sequence of viral envelope on their surface. J. Gen. Virol., 2004, 85:2665-2670.

4.      Sominskaya I., Mihailova M., Jansons J., Emelyanova V., Folkmane I., Smagris E., Dumpis U., Rozentals R., Pumpens P. Hepatitis B and C virus variants in long-term immunosuppressed renal transplantation patients in Latvia. Intervirology, 2005, accepted.

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