University of St Andrews
For his PhD Prof. Ryan cloned and sequenced Enterovirus Type 70 (EV70) at Leicester University – the first enterovirus genome sequence published after poliovirus. He then went on to work on another animal picornavirus, Foot-and-Mouth Disease Virus (FMDV) at the Pirbright Institute. There he produced the first complete map of FMDV polyprotein processing, the first test to differentiate between infected and vaccinated animals, and characterized the activity of the FMDV 2A oligopeptide sequences (just 18aa) in FMDV polyprotein processing. After his move to the University of St Andrews in 1994, he continued to work on FMDV 2A - but using artificial ‘reporter’ polyprotein systems. Using such systems he showed that 2A was not a novel form of single turn-over proteolytic element, but brought about a translational ‘recoding’ event (ribosome ‘skipping / StopGo translation / stop carry-on translation). His laboratory went on to identify a range of (picornavirus and non-picornavirus) ‘2A-like’ sequences which have been used extensively in biomedicine and biotechnology. More recently, his laboratory has performed research on cellular 2A-like sequences found within non-LTR retrotransposons and NOD-like receptors proteins. Latterly, the research emphasis has moved over to development of new animal virus vaccines based upon modification of codon usage to increase CpG and UpA dinucleotide frequencies and the development of FMDV ‘replicon’ genomic forms for use in attenuated vaccine development.
Development of new animal virus vaccines and the development of FMDV ‘replicon’ genomic forms for use in attenuated vaccine development.