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Studying Molecular Biomedicine at the University of Bonn, Jen was driven by her interest in host-pathogen interaction, especially in the contexts of innate immunity, the interferon (IFN) system, and the regulation of translation. Thus, her diploma project in Veit Hornung’s lab focused on the application of ribosome profiling to IFN-stimulated murine macrophages.
For her PhD, Jen then swapped the host for the pathogen perspective and moved to Friedemann Weber’s lab at the Universities of Marburg and Gießen to work with negative-sense RNA viruses. There, she elucidated how the phlebovirus SFSV uses its virulence factor NSs to sterically block the DNA-binding domain of IRF3 to dampen type I/III IFN induction. Furthermore, she reported how SFSV NSs conferred resistance to the viral RNA sensor PKR by targeting the translation initiation factor eIF2B and thereby uncoupling viral RNA sensing from the effector arm of the integrated stress response.
Coming back to both Bonn and the host perspective, Jen joined Florian Schmidt’s lab to employ and develop recombinant nanobody tools that target components of nucleic acid sensing pathways and the type I/III IFN system. While exploring the experimental and diagnostic potential of specific nanobodies selected due to target binding, she is developing a lentivirus-based screen to identify functionally active nanobodies. Besides, her interests also include the development of novel strategies for nanobody delivery to primary cells and heterogenous tissue populations
Wuerth JD and Weber F. Phleboviruses and the Type I Interferon Response. Viruses 8; e174 (2016)
Wuerth JD, Habjan M, Wulle J, Superti-Furga G, Pichlmair A, Weber F. NSs Protein of Sandfly Fever Sicilian Phlebovirus Counteracts Interferon (IFN) Induction by Masking the DNA-Binding Domain of IFN Regulatory Factor 3. Journal of Virology 92; e01202-18 (2018)
Wuerth JD and Weber F. Ferreting out viral pathogenesis. Nat Microbiol 4; 384-385 (2019)
Wuerth JD, Habjan M, Kainulainen M, Berisha B, Bertheloot D, Superti-Furga G, Pichlmair A, Weber F. eIF2B as target for viral evasion of PKR-mediated translation inhibition. mBio 11; e00976-20 (2020)
Koenig PA*, Das H†, Liu H†, Kümmerer BM, Gohr FN‡, Jenster LM‡, Schiffelers LDJ‡, Tesfamariam YM‡, Uchima M‡, Wuerth JD‡, Gatterdam K, Ruetalo N, Christensen MH, Fandrey CI, Normann S, Tödtmann JMP, Pritzl S, Hanke L, Jannik Boos J, Yuan M, Zhu X, Schmid-Burgk JL, Kato H, Schindler M, Wilson IA, Geyer M, Ludwig KU, Hällberg BM*, Wu NC*, Schmidt FI*. Structure-guided multivalent nanobodies block SARS-CoV-2 infection and suppress mutational escape. Science 371; eabe6230 (2021)