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AntiViralEvo SIGNED

Unravelling the evolution of antiviral sensors and response systems in animals using the phylum Cnidaria

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






 AntiViralEvo project word cloud

Explore the words cloud of the AntiViralEvo project. It provides you a very rough idea of what is the project "AntiViralEvo" about.

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Project "AntiViralEvo" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
postcode: 91904

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country Israel [IL]
 Total cost 1˙998˙750 €
 EC max contribution 1˙998˙750 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2019-COG
 Funding Scheme ERC-COG
 Starting year 2020
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2020-05-01   to  2025-04-30


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 


 Project objective

Viruses are absolute parasites as their replication depends on biochemical systems of their host. Because viral infections reduce the fitness of the host organism, hosts and viruses have been tangled in an evolutionary arms race for survival from the very beginning of life. As the immune system allows organisms to identify and eliminate viral infections, it is of pivotal importance for host fitness. In vertebrates, the antiviral immunity is heavily based on the interferon pathway that enables infected cells to alert neighbouring cells against incoming infection and recruits cells of the immune system to battle the virus. However, in the case of invertebrates, which lack interferons, the antiviral immunity is believed to be based mostly on an RNA interference (RNAi) that cleaves viral RNA. Until now, the recognition mechanism and mode of action of such systems were studied mostly in vertebrates, insects and nematodes. From this limited phyletic sampling, it is impossible to deduce what was the original mode of action of these systems in their last common ancestor and how antiviral immunity was triggered in early animals. To attain novel insights into the early evolution of this crucial system, I propose to study it in an outgroup: the sea anemone Nematostella vectensis, a representative model species of Cnidaria, a phylum that diverged approximately 600 million years ago from the rest of animals. Beyond its key phyletic position, Nematostella is a tractable lab model with available advanced molecular and gene manipulation tools making it an excellent comparative model. I will harness these tools to decipher the cnidarian system for battling RNA viruses and answer the outstanding questions regarding the evolution of antiviral immunity and its ancestral state in animals. My preliminary results put in question the textbook dichotomy between the antiviral immune systems of vertebrates and invertebrates as I find active components of both systems in Nematostella.

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The information about "ANTIVIRALEVO" are provided by the European Opendata Portal: CORDIS opendata.

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