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Microbiology Logo Microbiology & Immunology
Te Tari Moromoroiti me te Ārai Mate

Dr Matloob Husain

Research interests:

Molecular virology, viral pathogenesis and epidemiology

Current research:

I am a Senior Lecturer in Virology. My laboratory is interested in understanding the virus-host cell interactions at molecular level. Viruses are obligate intracellular parasites that exploit and dysregulate host factors and signalling pathways to complete a replication cycle and cause disease. Current research in the lab focuses on the identification of novel host factors and signalling pathways involved in the replication and pathogenesis of influenza virus and vaccinia virus.

PhD and MSc research projects are available in my lab. For information on PhD and MSc admissions and scholarships, visit University of Otago web links: ; ;

Lab group

Lab Photo


Postgraduate students

Farjana AhmedHenry GalvinRandy HawMazhar HussainAshley Nutsford


October, 2016 - The outcome of our flu vaccination survey of University of Otago staff has been published in New Zealand Medical Journal.

July, 2016 - We just published a paper in Virology reporting the involvement of host cortactin in influenza A virus infection. 

July, 2016 - Randy Haw joined the lab as a PhD student. Randy is from Malaysia and supported by the University of Otago Doctoral Scholarship. He will be contributing to our work on influenza virus-host cell interactions.

June, 2016 - We have received funding from HS and JC Anderson Trust. This funding will contribute to our continuing study to understand the molecular interplay between influenza virus and host histone deacetylases.

May, 2016 - Prashanth has won the Postgraduate Travel Award in Applied Sciences given by Otago Institute for Arts and Sciences - a local branch of Royal Society of New Zealand.

April, 2016 - Prashanth has been awarded funding from Maurice and Phyllis Paykel Trust to attend and give an Oral Presentation in 2016 American Society for Virology Meeting (USA).

April, 2016 - We have been awarded a grant-in-aid from OSMS Dean's Bequest Fund to support an ongoing research project.

April, 2016 - We have been awarded funding from Lottery Health Research to work on a new collaborative research project with Dr Rajesh Katare (Dept. of Physiology).

April, 2016 - Henry secured University of Otago Doctoral Scholarship and came back to the lab as a PhD student.

March, 2016 - Ashley and Essie joined the lab as a MSc and PGDipSci research student, respectively.

February, 2016 - Prashanth's paper has been accepted in Journal of Virology. This paper is a direct output from his ongoing PhD research and report that host histone deacetylase 1 is a novel anti-influenza virus factor.

Research projects

Influenza virus

Influenza virus causes regular seasonal epidemics and occasional pandemics, which have serious medical and economic consequences for global public health. Influenza is an enveloped virus with a segmented, negative-sense RNA genome. Influenza enters the host cell by endocytosis, replicates in the nucleus, assembles at the plasma membranes, and is released by budding. Our goal is to discover and investigate the role of novel cellular factors and signalling pathways involved in the entry, assembly, and release of influenza virus, and subsequently target them for anti-influenza interventions.

Vaccinia virus

Vaccinia virus is a poxvirus and is the best model to study poxvirus-cell interactions. It was used as a vaccine for worldwide eradication of smallpox. Currently, vaccinia is used as an expression vector, and is being developed as an oncolytic agent and vaccine vector. Vaccinia virus life cycle is one of the best model systems to understand how viruses modulate host cell membranes and evade host immune response. Vaccinia is a large, enveloped DNA virus that exclusively replicates in the cytoplasm of the host cell. Vaccinia primarily makes two types of infectious virions that are enclosed by two distinct viral membranes. Our goal is to understand the molecular mechanism of the intracellular origin of these viral membranes.


Subrata Barman, Petr S Krylov, Jasmine C Turner, John Franks, Robert G Webster, Matloob Husain, Richard J Webby. Manipulation of neuraminidase packaging signals and hemagglutinin residues improves the growth of A/Anhui/1/2013 (H7N9) influenza vaccine virus yield in eggs. Vaccine 35 (10): 1424-1430 (2017).

Matloob Husain*, Andrew Gray, and Richard Carlos Torr. The awareness and uptake of free flu vaccination offered to University of Otago staff. NZ Medical Journal 129 (1443): 92-93 (2016).

Da-Yuan Chen and Matloob Husain*. Caspase-mediated degradation of host cortactin that promotes influenza A virus infection in epithelial cells. Virology 497: 146-156 (2016).

Prashanth T Nagesh and Matloob Husain*. Influenza A virus dysregulates host histone deacetylase 1 that inhibits viral infection in lung epithelial cells. Journal of Virology 90 (9): 4614-4625 (2016).

Vivek Poonthiyil, Prashanth T Nagesh, Matloob Husain, Vladimir B Golovko, and Antony J Fairbanks. Gold nanoparticles decorated with sialic acid terminated bi-antennary N-glycans for the detection of influenza virus at nanomolar concentrations. ChemistryOpen 4 : 708-716 (2015). *Published with cover page illustration and article highlight.

Hassan Zaraket, Tatiana Baranovich, BS Kaplan, R Carter, MS Song, JC Paulson, JE Rehg, J Bahl, JC Crumpton, J Seiler, M Edmonson, G Wu, E Karlsson, T Fabrizio, H Zhu, Y Guan, Matloob Husain, S Schultz-Cherry, S Krauss, R McBride, RG Webster, EA Govorkova, J Zhang, CJ Russell, and Richard J Webby. Mammalian adaptation of influenza A (H7N9) virus is limited by a narrow genetic bottleneck. Nature Communications 6 : 6553 (2015).

Matloob Husain*. Avian influenza A (H7N9) virus infection in humans: Epidemiology, Evolution, and Pathogenesis. Infection, Genetics and Evolution. 28 : 304-312 (2014).

Matloob Husain* and CY Cheung. Histone deacetylase 6 inhibits influenza A virus release by downregulating the trafficking of viral components to the plasma membrane via its substrate acetylated microtubules. Journal of Virology 88 (19) : 11229-11239 (2014).

Singh, S.P., Gundavarapu, S., Smith, K.R., Chand, H.S., Saeed, A.I., Mishra, N.C., Hutt, J., Barrett, E.G., Husain, M., Harrod, K.S., Langley, R.J., Sopori, M.L. Gestational Exposure of Mice to Secondhand Cigarette Smoke Causes Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia Blocked by the Nicotinic Receptor Antagonist Mecamylamine. Environmental Health Perspectives 121: 957-964 (2013).

Husain M* and Harrod KS. Enhanced acetylation of alpha-tubulin in influenza A virus infected epithelial cells. FEBS Letters 585 (1): 128-132 (2011).

Husain M* and Harrod KS. Influenza A virus-induced caspase-3 cleaves the histone deacetylase 6 in infected epithelial cells. FEBS Letters 583 (15): 2517-2520 (2009).

Husain, M., A. Weisberg and B. Moss (2007). Resistance of a vaccinia virus A34R-deletion mutant to spontaneous rupture of the outer membrane of progeny virions on the surface of infected cells. Virology 366 (2): 424-432.

Husain, M., A. Weisberg and B. Moss (2007). Sequence-independent targeting of trans-membrane proteins synthesized within vaccinia virus factories to nascent viral membranes. Journal of Virology 81 (6): 2646-2655. *Article selected for journal spotlight.

Husain, M., A. Weisberg and B. Moss (2006). Existence of an operative pathway from the endoplasmic reticulum to the immature poxvirus membrane. Proceedings of National Academy of Science USA 103 (51): 19506-19511.

Husain, M. and B. Moss (2005). Role of receptor-mediated endocytosis in the formation of vaccinia virus extracellular enveloped particles. Journal of Virology 79 (7): 4080-4089.

Husain, M. and B. Moss (2003). Evidence against an essential role of COPII-mediated cargo transport to the endoplasmic reticulum-Golgi intermediate compartment in the formation of the primary membrane of vaccinia virus. Journal of Virology 77 (21): 11754-11766.

Husain, M. and B. Moss (2003). Intracellular trafficking of a palmitoylated membrane-associated protein component of enveloped vaccinia virus. Journal of Virology 77 (16): 9008-9019.

Husain, M., A. Weisberg and B. Moss (2003). Topology of epitope-tagged F13 protein, a major membrane component of extracellular vaccinia virions. Virology 308 (2): 233-242. *Published with cover page illustration.

Husain, M. and B. Moss (2002). Similarities in the induction of post-Golgi vesicles by the vaccinia virus F13 protein and phospholipase D. Journal of Virology 76 (15): 7777-7789.

Husain, M. and B. Moss (2001). Vaccinia virus F13 protein with a conserved phospholipase catalytic motif induces colocalization of the B5 envelope glycoprotein in post-Golgi vesicles. Journal of Virology 75 (16): 7528-7542.

Husain, M. and C. M. Gupta (1997). Interactions of viral matrix protein and nucleoprotein with the host cell cytoskeletal actin in influenza viral infection. Current Science 73:40-47.


(Past and Present)

Health Research Council

H S and J C Anderson Charitable Trust

Lottery Health Board

Otago School of Medical Sciences

University of Otago


Matloob on the cover of Otago Bulletin