with Jacques Le Pendu | April 13, 2012 - 14h30 | CIBIO-InBIO, Vairão

Jacques Le Pendu (INSERM & University of Nantes) will present a Seminar in Biodiversity and Evolution entitled “Potential involvement of histo-blood group antigens (HBGAs) in host-calicivirus co-evolution” on 13th of April, at 14:30, in Campus Agrário de Vairão auditorium.


Many caliciviruses of the norovirus and lagovirus genus (RHDV) bind to HBGAs, which show a polymorphism within the host species. The strains of norovirus that bind to HBGAs can collectively infect all humans but each strain infects a subgroup of the population only, suggesting a past co-evolution of humans and noroviruses that led to a trade-off where the human population is partly protected whilst the virus circulation is maintained. Given its recent emergence, its high virulence and its ability to bind to HBGAs, RHDV is expected to exert a strong selective pressure on some glycosyltransferase genes of rabbits, providing a model suitable for studying calicivirus-host co-evolution based. Recent results on RHDV, based on experimental work and field observations, will be presented to illustrate the potential of this model to document a host-pathogen co-evolution involving a vertebrate species.

Jacques Le Pendu is Research Director at the French National Institute for Health Research (INSERM) and the University of Nantes. He has a long-standing experience in the field of glycobiology applied either to cancer research or infectious diseases, and his group discovered the carbohydrate ligands of RHDV and largely contributed to the analysis of human norovirus carbohydrate interactions.