September 14, 2023: Leibniz Virology Lecture 2023

Prof. Felix Rey

"Which came first, the virus or the cell?" - this is the question addressed by our guest of honor, Professor Dr. Felix Rey from the Institut Pasteur in Paris, who gave a lecture on the structure of viral envelope proteins here at LIV on September 14 as part of the annual Leibniz Virology Lecture (formerly: Heinrich Pette Lecture).

Fusion proteins are found in the envelope of enveloped viruses and are responsible for binding and penetration of the viruses into the host cell they are trying to infect. However, such fusion of membranes also occurs during fertilization, when germ cells fuse and new life is formed. This happens in humans, animals, and also in plants and unicellular organisms. Structural biologist Rey showed that proteins involved in this are similar in structure to some viral envelope proteins.

This similarity raises interesting questions such as whether fusion proteins from viruses and germ cells could be related. Did cells adopt them from viruses or did viruses copy these useful protein structures from cells? Such findings are still new and give rise to many more curious research questions and exciting discoveries.

Each year, the College selects a guest of honor based on his or her outstanding achievements in virology. Also this year, the guest of honor Professor Felix Rey received a high-quality fountain pen "Meisterstück" of the brand Montblanc from the Scientific Director of the LIV Professor Thomas Dobner. The first Leibniz Virology Lecture was also accompanied by the graphic recorder Garbiele Schlipf, who recorded the content of the lecture in a comprehensible poster. This delighted both the audience and the guest of honor and will now be displayed alongside the 2016 to 2019 Foyer posters.

Graphic Recording von Gabriele Schlipf - - 2023