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Isabel Novella studies the evolution of viruses and how this knowledge can help fight
viral infections. Vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) is used as a model to study specific aspects of virus evolution and general
issues of population genetics. VSV is grouped together with important pathogens (measles,
influenza, poliovirus, HIV, hepatitis A, B and C viruses, etc.) among viruses whose
genomic information is stored in RNA instead of DNA. This is important because RNA
replication is error-prone, and therefore many mutations are constantly produced that
allow extremely rapid evolution. We carry out experiments in which we allow virus
replication under different conditions and analyze how these different conditions
affect changes in fitness (replicative ability) and in genome sequences. The tools
of molecular biology can now be used to test how different mutations may or may not
cause specific phenotypes.
Novella, I.S., Presloid, J.B., Smith, S.D., and Wilke, C.O. (2011). Specific and non-specific
host adaptation during arboviral experimental evolution. J. Mol. Microbiol. Biotechnol. 21:59-69
Smith-Tsurkan, S.D., Wilke, C.O., and Novella, IS. Incongruent fitness landscapes, not tradeoffs, dominate the adaptation of vesicular
stomatitis virus to novel host types. Journal of General Virology (2010) 91(Pt6):1484-1493, Epub 2010 Jan 27.
Kuzmin, I.V., Novella, I.S., Dietzgen, R., Padhi, A. and Rupprecht, C.E. (2009) The rhabdoviruses: biodiversity, phylogenetics and evolution. Infect,Genet Evol. 9(4):541-53. Epub 2009 Feb 24.
Novella, IS, Dutta, RN, Wilke, CO. (2008) A linear relationship between fitness and the logarithm of the critical bottleneck size in vesicular stomatitis virus populations. J. Virol. Oct 1; 82:12589-12590.
Presloid, J.B., Ebendick-Corpus, E.C., Zarate, S. and Novella, I.S. (2008) Antagonistic pleiotropy involving promoter sequences in a virus. J Mol Biol.
Zárate, S. and Novella, I.S (2004) Vesicular stomatitis virus evolution during alternation between persistent infection in insect cells and acute infection in mammalian cells is dominated by the persistence phase. J. Virol., 78:12236-12242.
Wilke, C.O., Reissig, D.D. and Novella, I.S. (2004) Replication at periodically changing multiplicity of infection promotes stable coexistence of competing viral populations. Evolution, 58:900-905.
Novella, I.S. (2004) Negative effect of genetic bottlenecks on the adaptability of vesicular stomatitis virus. J. Mol. Biol., 336:61-67.
Novella, I.S. (2003) Contributions of vesicular stomatitis virus to the understanding of RNA virus
evolution. Current Opinion in Microbiology, 6:1-7.
Quer, J., Hershey, C.L., Domingo, E., Holland, J.J. and Novella, I.S. (2001) Contingent neutrality in competing viral populations. J. Virol., 75:7315-7320.