There will be two assignments for each participant: a two-page written assignment (essay, Ses #4) and an oral presentation.

What to think about when reading a paper:

  • Title, does it make sense, does it reflect findings of the paper?
  • Abstract, does it invite you to read the paper, does it say enough but not too much?
  • Introduction, does it put the paper in context, does it inform on the content of the paper?
  • Methods, are the techniques used appropriate, could they have used different techniques to get to the same results, are the techniques clearly described?
  • Results, do results support claims made in the title/abstract, are the results well/clearly presented, are appropriate controls included, do results show what authors claim?
  • Discussion, do they explain the results properly in the context of current literature and in view of other people's results, are they bringing forward relevant hypothesis, do they suggest relevant follow up?

Assignment 1

Written assignment (2 page essay, due in Ses #7)

The first paper (see Ses #4 readings) suggests that the viral DUB UL36_usp might be involved in immune evasion. One straightforward explanation would be that ubiquitin removal prevents degradation of proteins that are key to HSV survival. Another possibility is that the viral DUB interferes with trafficking of membrane proteins required for viral budding.

Part 1

Discuss the two hypotheses about the potential role of UL36 in immune evasion.

  • Do you think that these hypotheses are likely to be correct? Explain why?
  • Is the evidence presented in the paper sufficient to support each hypothesis?
  • Do you favor one hypothesis over the other; if so why?
  • Suggest alternative explanations for the data.

Part 2

Propose one experiment, including a brief explanation of the technique and the proper controls that would be required, that could support the statements you make in Part 1.

Assignment 2

Oral presentation (due in Ses #11)

Students will take approximately 20 minutes (depending on the number of students) either alone or in teams of two, to present a paper that will be discussed afterwards. This paper needs to be pre-approved by the instructors by Ses #9 at the latest.

Students are encouraged to independently select from the primary literature an article that features a form of viral or bacterial immune evasion. Alternatively, an article will be assigned by the instructors. Students who have selected their own paper are expected to bring hard-copies of that paper and distribute it among all participants of the course the week before the presentations, which will be in Ses #11. These hard-copies will serve only as reference material for the other students, and only the student who gives the oral presentation is expected to have studied the respective paper throughout.

Examples of suitable papers for oral presentations:

Neumann, J., Eis-Hubinger, A. M., and Koch, N. "Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 Targets the MHC Class II Processing Pathway for Immune Evasion." Journal of Immunology 171 (2003): 3075-3083.

Neumann, L., Kraas, W., Uebel, S., Jung, G., and Tampe, R. "The Active Domain of the Herpes Simplex Virus Protein ICP47: A Potent Inhibitor of the Transporter Associated with Antigen Processing (TAP)." Journal of Molecular Biology 272 (1997): 484-492.

Orth, K., Xu, Z. H., Mudgett, M. B., Bao, Z. Q., Palmer, L. E., Bliska, J. B., Mangel, W. F., Staskawicz, B., and Dixon, J. E. "Disruption of Signaling by Ye\sinia Effector YopJ, a Ubiquitin-like Protein Protease." Science 290 (2000): 1594-1597.

Zimmermann, S., Murray, P. J., Heeg, K., and Dalpke, A. H. "Induction of Suppressor of Cytokine Signaling-1 by Toxoplasma Gondii Contributes to Immune Evasion in Macrophages by Blocking IFN-gamma Signaling." Journal of Immunology 176 (2006): 1840-1847.