Skip to Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Footer

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

Associate Professor Matloob Husain

Research interests:

Molecular Virology, Viral Pathogenesis and Epidemiology

Current research:

We study the virus-host interactions at molecular level. The goal of this research is to identify novel antiviral drug targets and design host-directed antiviral therapies.

Current focus of research is influenza virus. Influenza virus is a globally prevalent pathogen with recurring epidemic and pandemic potential. Due to its inherent evolving nature, it will be practically impossible to eradicate, particularly the type A influenza viruses from nature. Hence, there is a pressing need to develop effective and long-lasting anti-influenza virus strategies. To contribute to this over-arching goal, our research focuses on identifying the host factors, which are critically involved in influenza virus infection. To this end, we have discovered that multiple members of a family of host proteins known as histone deacetylases (HDACs) possess inherent ability to inhibit the influenza virus infection. However, influenza virus antagonises them by various mechanisms to undermine their antiviral function. We continue to study the molecular mechanisms of influenza virus-HDACs interplay. Furthermore, we are also studying the role of histone acetyltransferases (HATs), the HDACs counterparts, in influenza virus infection. The aim of this research is to elucidate the role of host acetylation machinery in influenza virus infection and determine its potential for host-directed anti-influenza virus therapy.

PhD and MSc research projects are available in this space; please get in touch if you are motivated to acquire research skills and knowledge in molecular virology. General information on PhD/MSc admissions and scholarships is available on University of Otago Graduate Research School website.


Farjana Ahmed, Torsten Kleffmann, Matloob Husain*. Acetylation, methylation and allysine modification profile of viral and host proteins during influenza A virus infection. Viruses 13(7):1415 (2021). Article Link 

Matloob Husain. Host factors involved in influenza virus infectionEmerging Topics in Life Sciences. 4: 401-410 (2020)Article Link

Mark Zanin, Jennifer DeBeauchamp, Gowthami Vangala, Richard J. Webby and Matloob Husain*. Histone deacetylase 6 knockout mice exhibit higher susceptibility to influenza A virus infection. Viruses 12(7): 728. (2020). Article Link

Matloob Husain. Viruses are a national security issue, and we need a budget to fight themStuff Apr 30 (2020)Article Link

Da-Yuan Chen and Matloob Husain*. Caspase-mediated cleavage of human cortactin during influenza A virus infection occurs in its actin-binding domains and is associated with released virus titres. Viruses 12(1): 87. (2020)Article Link

Henry D Galvin and Matloob Husain*. Influenza A virus-induced host caspase and viral PA-X antagonise the antiviral host factor, histone deacetylase 4. Journal of Biological Chemistry294: 20207-20221. (2019). Article Link

Rajesh Lamichhane, Henry Galvin, Rachel F Hannaway, Sara M de la Harpe, Fran Munro, Joel DA Tyndall, Andrea J Vernall, John L McCall, Matloob Husain, and James E Ussher. Type I interferons are important co‐stimulatory signals during T cell receptor mediated human MAIT cell activation. European Journal of Immunology DOI: 10.1002/eji.201948279 (2019). Article Link

Ashley N Nutsford, Henry D Galvin, Farjana Ahmed, and Matloob Husain*. The Class IV human deacetylase, HDAC11, exhibits anti‐influenza A virus properties via its involvement in host innate antiviral response. Cellular Microbiology, e12989 (2018)Article Link 

Prashanth T Nagesh, Mazhar Hussain, Henry D Galvin, and Matloob Husain*. Histone deacetylase 2 is a component of influenza A virus-induced host antiviral response. Frontiers in Microbiology, 8: 1315 (2017)Article Link

Mazhar Hussain, Henry D Galvin, Tatt Y Haw, Ashley N Nutsford, and Matloob Husain*. Drug resistance in influenza A virus: the epidemiology and management. Infection and Drug Resistance 10: 121-134 (2017). Article Link

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)Article Link

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

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)Article Link 

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)Article Link

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)Article Link *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)Article Link

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

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)Article Link 

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)Article Link

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)Article Link

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.

Media and Press

Flu targets. He Kitenga 150, 2019 ed. pp 37-39

Otago’s flu vaccination programme surveyed

On campus flu vaccinations popular

No 'jabs' flu vaccination approach paying off

Matloob on the cover of Otago Bulletin

Research Facility

3D cultures of human airway epithelial cells - ideal for antiviral drug screenings

Acetylated tubulin 6.oif.filesAcetylated tubulin DAPI merge 6.oif.files


2fcec16e 8f09 45e6 be34 d473a53f310b


PhD students


            Farjana Ahmed

Bennett Henzeler4

             Bennett Henzeler L

 Summer student


                  Lauren Carr

Lab Alumni

Dr Prashanth Thevkar Nagesh (PhD, 2017) - Harvard Medical School, USA

Dr Henry David Galvin (PhD, 2019) - Logistics Industry, Wellington (NZ)

Dr Mazhar Husain (PhD, 2020) - Department of Pathology, University of Otago (NZ)

Dr Da-Yuan Chen (Postdoctoral Fellow, 2019) - Boston University School of Medicine, USA

Ashley Nutsford (MSc, 2018) - PhD Candidate, University of Auckland (NZ)

Essie Van Zuylen (PGDipSci, 2016) - PhD Candidate, University of Otago (NZ)

Keanan Sylvester (PGDipSci, 2018) - NZ Ministry of Primary Industries

Funding (Past and Present)

Health Research Council

HS and JC Anderson Trust

Lottery Health Board

School of Biomedical Sciences

University of Otago

Maurice and Phyllis Paykel Trust