Georg Wolff obtained his doctorate cum laude

Georg Wolff obtained his PhD thesis on the “Cellular cryo-tomography of nidovirus replication organelles” cum laude. The work was conducted under the supervision of dr. Montse Barcena, Prof.dr. A.J.Koster and Prof.dr. E.J.Snijder.     

Georg Wolff obtained his doctorate cum laude

In his thesis, Georg Wolff analyzed the replication organelles induced by corona- and arteriviruses using cellular electron cryo-tomography (cryo-ET). Cellular cryo-ET is a young technique, which makes use of focused ion beam (FIB) milling to generate 100-300 nm thin cryo-lamellae from thick regions of cells that are in this way accessible to be imaged by high-resolution cryo-EM. However, this workflow is time-consuming and error-prone. Part of the thesis describes an improved sample-preparation strategy that successfully increased the throughput of this workflow. This method was applied on cells infected by coronaviruses unveiling a novel pore complex that seems to shuttle viral RNA across the double-membranes of the viral replication organelles. It was found that this molecular pore are (partially) formed by a large transmembrane viral proteins. Further work revealed that DMV-spanning molecular pores appear to be a central component in the replication cycle of both corona- and arteriviruses, two distantly related virus families united in the Nidovirales order.

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