Welcome to the Mothes Lab, where we study HIV and other retroviruses.
Dr. Mothes' laboratory is interested in various aspects of viral spread and pathogenesis of HIV-1 and other retroviruses. Retroviruses can efficiently spread from cell to cell through contact zones, called virological and infectious synapses. The Mothes lab has contributed to the understanding of this process by directly visualizing how cell-cell contracts between infected and uninfected cells form, virus assembly is directed towards cell-cell contact sites and viruses are actively transferred to infect neighboring cells. A major current interest of the laboratory is to monitor viral spread and aspects of retroviral pathogenesis directly in living animals using multi-photon laser scanning microscopy. The laboratory is also applying single molecule imaging to understand how conformational events in the HIV-1 envelope protein lead to fusion between viral and cellular membranes. A detailed understanding of these processes will permit the rational design of vaccines and antiviral therapies that prevent virus spreading and the infection of new cells.