Molecular Virology


The increasing globalization, economic development, urbanization and climate change can lead to the emergence of new human pathogenic viruses. Among these viruses, the rodent-transmitted hantaviruses produce a worldwide public health concern causing severe hemorrhagic fevers with renal or pulmonary syndromes in humans. Throughout America, the fatality rate exceeds 30% and currently no effective treatments are available. At the Molecular Virology Lab, basic questions related to the biology of hantaviruses are being investigated, with a major focus on the viral envelope glycoproteins Gn and Gc, which hantaviruses use to enter and infect human cells as well as to exit from these cells after infection. In our previous work, we have found that these glycoproteins assemble into virus-like particles that are highly antigenic and immunogenic. We also have identified and characterized the viral fusion protein (Gc) responsible for the cell entry process through fusion of the viral envelope membrane with cellular membranes and have developed viral fusion inhibitors. Our latest research focuses on how Gc is protected from an irreversible activation through acidification during viral cell exit and its interaction with Gn.


Research Head: Nicole Tischler

Postdoctoral Fellows: Amelina Albornóz • Eduardo Bignon

Doctoral students: Nicolás Muena

Undergraduate students: Raúl Segovia • Nicolás Castillo

Research assistant: Felipe Hurtado


  • Guardado-Calvo, P., Bignon, E.A., Stettner, E., Jeffers S.A., Pehau-Arnaudet, G., Tortorici, M.A., Jestin, J.L., England, P., Tischler, N.D.*, Rey, F.A.* (2016). Mechanistic insight into bunyavirus-induced membrane 1 fusion from structure-function analyses of the hantavirus envelope glycoprotein Gc. PLoS Path. 12(10):e1005813. | | ABSTRACT
  • Willensky, S., Bar-Rogovsky, H., Bignon, E.A., Tischler, N.D., Modis, Y., Dessau, M.* (2016). Crystal Structure of Glycoprotein C from a Hantavirus in the Post-fusion Conformation. PLoS Path. 12(10):e1005948. | | ABSTRACT
  • Albornoz A., Hoffmann A.B., Lozach P.Y., Tischler N.D. Early Bunyavirus-host cell interactions. Viruses 8(5), pii: E143. doi: 10.3390/v8050143 (2016)  | | ABSTRACT
  • Barriga G.P., Villalón-Letelier F., Márquez C.L., Bignon E.A., Acuña R., Ross B.H., Monasterio O., Mardones G.A., Vidal S.E., Tischler N.D. Inhibition of the hantavirus fusion process by predicted domain III and stem peptides from glycoprotein Gc. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 10(7), e0004799. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0004799 (2016) | | ABSTRACT
  • Acuña R., Bignon E.A., Mancini R., Lozach P.Y., Tischler N.D. Acidification triggers Andes hantavirus membrane fusion and rearrangement of Gc into a stable post-fusion homotrimer. J Gen Virol. 96(11):3192-7. doi: 10.1099/jgv.0.000269 (2015) | | ABSTRACT
  • Acuña R., Cifuentes-Muñoz N., Márquez C.L., Bulling M., Klingström J., Mancini R., Lozach P.Y., Tischler, N.D. Hantavirus Gn and Gc glycoproteins self-assemble into virus-like particles . Journal of Virology, vol. 88(4): pp. 2344-2348. (2014) | PDF | ABSTRACT
  • Cifuentes-Muñoz N., Salazar-Quiroz N., Tischler N.D. Hantavirus Gn and Gc envelope glycoproteins: structural key units for virus cell entry and virus assembly. Virus Research, vol. 153, pp 29–35 (2010) | PDF | ABSTRACT
  • Barriga, G., Martínez, C., Galeno, H., Ferrés, M., Lozach, P.Y., Tischler, N.* (2013). Rápid method for Andes hantavirus titration by flow cytometry. J Virol. Meth. 193(2):291-294. | | ABSTRACT
  • Gupta S, Braun M, Tischler N.D., Stoltz M, Sundström KB, Björkström NK, Ljunggren HG, Klingström J.* (2013). Hantavirus-infection Confers Resistance to Cytotoxic Lymphocyte-Mediated Apoptosis. PLoS Pathog 9(3):e1003272 | PDF | ABSTRACT
  • Vera-Otarola, J., Solis, L., Soto-Rifo, R., Ricci, E., Pino, K., Tischler, N.D, Ohlmann, T., Darlix, J.L., Lopez-Lastra, M.* (2012). The Andes Hantavirus NSs protein is expressed from the viral Small mRNA by a leaky scanning mechanism. J Virol, 86(4):2176-87. | PDF | ABSTRACT
  • Cifuentes-Muñoz N., Barriga G. P., Valenzuela P. D. T. and Tischler N. D. Aromatic and polar residues spanning the putative fusion peptide of Andes virus are essential for membrane fusion and infection. J. Gen. Virol. 92 (3): 552-563 (2011) | PDF | ABSTRACT
  • Cifuentes-Muñoz N., Darlix J. L. and Tischler N. D. Development of a lentiviral vector system to study the role of the Andes virus glycoproteins. Virus Res. 153, 29-35 (2010) | PDF | ABSTRACT
  • Godoy P., Marsac D., Stefas E., Ferrer P., Tischler N. D., Pino K., Ramdohr P., Vial P., Valenzuela P. D. T., Ferrés M., Veas F. and López-Lastra M. Andes Virus Antigens are shed in urine of patients with acute Hantavirus Cardiopulmonary Syndrome. J. Virol. 83 (10): 5046-5055, (2009) | PDF | ABSTRACT
  • Tischler N. D., Rosemblatt M. and Valenzuela P. D. T. Characterization of cross-reactive and serotype-specific epitopes on the nucleocapsid proteins of hantaviruses. Virus Res. 135 (1): 1-9 (2008) | PDF | ABSTRACT
  • Tischler N., Gonzalez A., Perez-Acle T., Rosemblatt M. and Valenzuela P. D. T. Hantavirus Gc glycoprotein: evidence for a class II fusion protein. J. Gen. Virol. 86, 2937-2947 (2005) | PDF | ABSTRACT
  • Tischler N. D., Galeno H., Rosemblatt M. and Valenzuela P. D. T. Human and rodent humoral immune responses to Andes virus structural proteins. Virology 334, 319-326 (2005) | PDF | ABSTRACT
  • Tischler N. D., Fernández J., Müller I., Martínez R., Galeno H., Villagra E., Mora J., Ramírez E., Rosemblatt M. and Valenzuela P. D. T. Complete sequence of the genome of the human isolate of Andes virus CHI-7913: comparative sequence and protein structure analysis. Biol. Res. 36 (2): 201-210 (2003) | PDF | ABSTRACT