Molecular virology and innate immunity
After natural barriers represented by mucosa and skin, innate immunity is the first line of defense against viral infections. This line of defense is particularly important since it stops 99% of infections and is an absolutely requisit for the development of adaptive immunity, the other arm of our defense system which operates in a second stage of the infection. Intimate knowledge of the mechanisms that govern these interactions between viruses and innate defense system is therefore essential knowing that we are often disarmed in terms of antivirals compounds against these viral infections. In the laboratory we are primarily interested in the molecular mechanisms governing the specific detection of viral infections mainly at the level of viral nucleic acid detection in the cytoplasm of infected cells. The specificity of this detection is essential to trigger appropriate antiviral cellular responses and also delicate concerning viruses. The aim is to detect specific viral molecular signatures in a compartment naturally full of cellular nucleic acids. Another aspect of our research concerns the viral strategies to avoid or escape these innate responses so effective.