... understanding life in molecular detail

Dr John Barr

RNA virus nucleocapsid structure

The group of negative-sense RNA viruses includes many of the most serious pathogens of both humans and animals, including Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus, influenza virus, respiratory syncytial virus, Ebola virus and the arenaviruses. Each of these causes significant mortality amongst humans, with disease ranging from devastating hemorrhagic fevers, to potentially lethal severe respiratory tract infections. We study many aspects of the molecular and cellular biology of these viruses, ranging from structural biology of viral proteins, mechanisms of gene expression, interactions between viral and cellular proteins, and global effects of viral infection on host cell processes using proteomics.

Current major projects include:
  • Structural and functional analysis of the viral RNP complex
  • Understanding global effects on cellular response to viral infection
  • Investigating host:pathogen interactions using proteomics

We are interested in a broad range of research topics concerning several negative stranded RNA viruses. These topics range from investigating the structural biology of individual viral proteins, interactions between viral and host cell components, through to how virus infection affects cellular processess and pathways on a whole-cell basis. The viruses we currently study include several bunyaviruses (Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus, Hazara virus, Bunyamwera virus, Schmallenberg virus and others), one highly lethal arenavirus (Lujo virus) and the non-segmented human respiratory syncytial virus.

Detailed research programme                  Close ▲

University Research Fellow
BSc PhD (Warwick)

PhD (University of Warwick, 1994)
Post doctoral research fellow (University of Alabama, at Birmingham) 1
Instructor (University of Alabama, at Birmingham) 2000-2005

Garstang South 8.55B
School of Molecular and Cellular Biology
0113 343 8069


Selected Publications

  1. Hover S, King B, Hall B, Loundras EA, Taqi H, Daly J, Dallas M, Peers C, Schnettler E, Mckimmie C, Kohl A, Barr JN, Mankouri J Modulation of potassium channels inhibits bunyavirus infection Journal of Biological Chemistry 291 3411-3422, 2016

  2. Dowall SD, Matthews DA, Garcia-Dorival I, Taylor I, Kenny J, Hertz-Fowler C, Hall N, Corbin-Lickfett K, Empig C, Schlunegger K, Barr JN, Carroll MW, Hewson R, Hiscox JA Elucidating variations in the nucleotide sequence of Ebola virus associated with increasing pathogenicity Genome Biology 15 -, 2014

  3. Tanner S, Ariza A, Richard CA, Kyle H, Dods R, Blondot ML, Wu W, Trincão J, Trinh CH, Hiscox JA, Carroll MW, Silman NJ, Eléouët JF, Edwards TA, Barr JN Crystal structure of the essential transcription antiterminator M2-1 protein of human respiratory syncytial virus and implications of its phosphorylation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of USA 111 1580-1585, 2014

  4. Ariza A, Tanner SJ, Walter CT, Dent KC, Shepherd DA, Wu W, Matthews SV, Hiscox JA, Green TJ, Luo M, Elliott RM, Fooks AR, Ashcroft AE, Stonehouse NJ, Ranson NA, Barr JN, Edwards TA Nucleocapsid protein structures from orthobunyaviruses reveal insight into ribonucleoprotein architecture and RNA polymerization. Nucleic Acids Res 41 5912-5926, 2013