BSc - University of Alberta; Molecular genetics, cell biology, electron microscopy
MSc - University of Alberta; Biochemical studies on adenovirus infected cells. Supervisor - Dr. Ray G. Marusyk
PhD - Université de Sherbrooke; Genetic and biochemical analysis of adenovirus. Supervisor - Dr. Joe Weber
Post-doctoral Fellow - Institute for Genetics, Cologne, Germany. Biochemical analysis of adenovirus, molecular biology of baculovirus, with Dr. Walter Doerfler
Medical Research Coucil of Canada Development Grant Scholarship - Queen's U. - awarded for 1980 to 1990
Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellowship - awarded in 1987
Sept. 1987 - Aug. 1988. Institute of Biochemistry, Ludwig-Maximilian University, Munich, Germany.
Aug. 1994 - July, 1995. Faculty of Biology, University of Konstanz, Konstanz, Germany.
Aug. 2001 - July 2002. Faculty of Biology, University of Konstanz, Konstanz, Germany.
Jan. – July 2009. March – April. Faculty of Biology, University of Konstanz, Konstanz, Germany
Jan. – July 2015. Julius Kühn Institute Institut für Biologischen Pflanzenschutz, Darmstadt, Germany
Life Member, International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses - elected in 2016
Professor Emeritus - 2018
Viral DNA replication
Biochemical characterization of viral genes essential for viral DNA replication
Regulation of genes required for DNA replication and transcription
Viral DNA replication, analysis of essential virus genes and their regulation.
Members of the Baculoviridae, a unique family of eukaryotic of rod-shaped enveloped viruses with large circular double stranded DNA genomes, are unique because of their production of two different phenotypes of viruses during their infection cycle, and their extreme host specificity. Baculoviruses replicate only in invertebrates, and many isolates exhibit a very specific host range, infecting only one or a few insect genera. It is this strict species specificity which makes the study of baculoviruses so interesting.
The objectives of baculovirus research have focused on:
- their use as biological pest control agents,
- their use as very efficient eukaryotic expression vectors (BEVs).
- important model viruses for studying the processes of gene regulation and particularly DNA replication in invertebrates.
- the potential use of baculoviruses as vectors in gene therapy.
Thus, although they do not replicate in mammalian cells, baculoviruses can attach to and localize their genomes to the nucleus of these cells.
- Why do they not then replicate?
- Why do they only replicate in insects, with a very strict host specificity?
- What factors regulate this strict host range?
The fundamental research in my laboratory is directed towards examining some of these concepts. Since genome replication is an early event in the virus replication cycle, understanding the temporal regulation of gene expression leading to the initiation of DNA replication and late gene expression will provide clues about host range specificity (for a review, see: Carstens, 2009).
We have been using Baculovirus, particularly an isolate of the Alphabaculovirus type species virus Autographa californica nucleopolyhedrovirus as a model (for a review, see: Carstens, 2012). The process of insect killing by baculoviruses is largely due to viraemia and generalized infection of tissues throughout the insect, a process that takes many days to kill the host insect, during which time, crop or forest damage due to insect feeding continues. By understanding the mechanisms of viral replication and interaction with host cell regulation, the genes involved in viral pathogenesis will be identified and exploited in new generation viruses for insect pest control. In addition, genes critical to establishing virus host range and virulence are being studied in order to learn which genes can be manipulated safely in designing new biological pesticides.
At the same time, our research is leading to a greater understanding of the mechanism of baculovirus DNA replication and the functional significance of viral genes during this process (see Carstens, 2009; and Bossert and Carstens, 2018 for some of our work on baculovirus DNA replication) . These studies will enable us to understand the restriction of baculovirus replication in nonpermissive systems, including mammalian cells.
Our research has been funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
Publications since 1992
PubMed Publications - (click on this link to view our publications available in PubMed)
- M. Bossert and E. B. Carstens (2018) Sequential deletion of AcMNPV homologous regions leads to reductions in budded virus production and late protein expression. Virus Research 256: 125-133.
- G Gueli Alletti, E. B. Carstens, B. Weihrauch, and JA Jehle (2018) Agrotis segetum nucleopolyhedrovirus but not Agrotis segetum granulovirus replicate in AiE1611T cell line of Agrotis ipsilon J. Invert. Path.151:7-13
- G Gueli Alletti, M Eigenbrod, E. B. Carstens, RG Kleespies, and JA Jehle (2017) The genome sequence of Agrotis segetum granulovirus, isolate AgseGV-DA, reveals a new Betabaculovirus species of a slow killing granulovirus. J. Invert. Path. 146:58-68
- Eugene Koonin , Mya Breitbart , Mike Adams , Maria Benko , Rodney Brister , Eric B Carstens , Andrew Davison , Eric Delwart , Balazs Harrach , Roger Hull , Mart Krupovic , Jens Kuhn , Elliot Lewfkowitz , Max Nibert , Richard Orton , Marilyn Roossinck , Sead Sabanadzovic , Matthew Sullivan , Curtis Suttle , Robert Tesh , Rene van der Vlugt , Arvind Varsani , Murilo Zerbini , Andrew King , Alexander Gorbalenya (2017) Virus taxonomy in the age of metagenomics. Nature Reviews Microbiology 15:161-168
- Downie, K. G. Adetola, and E. B. Carstens (2013) Characterization of protein-protein interaction domains within the baculovirus AcMNPV Late Expression Factor LEF-3. J. Gen Virol. 94: 2530-2535
- Yu, M. and E. B. Carstens (2012) The CfMNPV LEF-3/P143 complex can complement DNA replication and budded virus production in an AcMNPV LEF-3/P143 double knockout bacmid. J. Gen. Virol. 93:383-388
- Yu, M. and E. B. Carstens (2011) Characterization of an Autographa californica multiple nucleopolyhedrovirus mutant lacking the ac39 (p43) gene. Virus Research 155:300-306
- Carstens, E. B. (2011) Baculoviruses. In: Fundamentals of Molecular Virology, 2nd Edition pp 302-311. Edited by N. Acheson. (John Wiley & Sons Canada Ltd.)
- Yu, M. and E. B. Carstens (2010) Identification of a Domain of the Baculovirus AcMNPV Single-Strand DNA Binding Protein LEF-3 Essential for Viral DNA Replication. J. Virol 84:6153-6162
- Au, V., M. Yu, and E. B. Carstens. (2009) Characterization of a Baculovirus Nuclear Localization Signal Domain in the Late Expression Factor 3 Protein. Virology. 385:209-217
- Carstens, E. B. (2009) AcMNPV as a Model for Baculovirus DNA replication. Virologica Sinica 24: 243-267
- Carstens, E. B. and Y. Wu. (2007) No Single Homologous Repeat Region is Essential for the Baculovirus Autographa californica Nucleopolyhedrovirus Viral DNA Replication. J. Gen. Virol. 88:114-122.
- Carstens, E. B. (2007) Baculoviruses. In: Fundamentals of Molecular Virology pp 147-156. Edited by N. Acheson. (John Wiley & Sons Canada Ltd.)
- Wang, X., E. B. Carstens, and Q. Feng. (2006) Characterization of Choristoneura fumiferana genes of the sixth subunit of the origin recognition complex: CfORC6. J. Biochem. Mol. Biol. 39: 782-787.
- Chen, Z. and E. B. Carstens (2005) Identification of Domains in Autographa californica multiple nucleopolyhedrovirus LEF-3 Required for Nuclear Transport of P143. J. Virol. 79:10915-10922
- de Jong, J., C. Dominy, A. Arif, H. Lauzon, E.B. Carstens and P. Krell. (2005) Analysis of the Choristoneura fumiferana nucleopolyhedrovirus Genome. J.Gen.Virol. 86: 929-943
- Ito, E., D. Sahri, R. Knippers, and E. B. Carstens (2004) Baculovirus proteins IE-1, LEF-3, and P143 interact with DNA in vivo: a formaldehyde cross-linking study. Virology 329:328-336.
- Chen, T., D. Sahri and E. B. Carstens (2004) Characterization of the interaction between P143 and LEF-3 from two different baculovirus species: CfMNPV LEF-3 can complement AcMNPV LEF-3 in supporting DNA replication. J.Virol. 78:329-339.
- Carstens, E.B., J. J. Liu, and C. Dominy. (2002) Identification and Molecular Characterization of the Baculovirus CfMNPV Early Genes: ie-1, ie-2 and pe38. Virus Research 83:13-30.
- Carstens, E.B. (2002) Genus: Nucleopolyhedrovirus (Baculoviridae). In: The Springer Index of Viruses edited by C.A. Tidona and G. Darai.
- Lapointe, R., D.W. Back, Q. Ding and E.B. Carstens (2000) Identification and molecular characterization of the Choristoneura fumiferana multicapsid nucleopolyhedrovirus genomic region encoding the regulatory genes pkip, p47, lef-12 and gta. Virology 271:109-121
- Wu,Y. G. Liu and E.B. Carstens (1999) Replication, integration and packaging of plasmid DNA following cotransfection with baculovirus viral DNA. J. Virol. 1999. 73:5473-5480.
- Liu, G. and E.B. Carstens. (1999) Site-directed mutagenesis of the AcMNPV p143 gene: effects on baculovirus DNA replication Virology 253:125-136.
- Wu, Y. and E.B. Carstens. (1998) A baculovirus single-stranded DNA binding protein LEF-3 mediates the nuclear localization of the putative helicase P143. Virology 247:32-40.
- Laufs, S. , A. Lu, K. Arrell and E.B. Carstens. (1997) Autographa californica nuclear polyhedrosis virus p143 gene product is a DNA binding protein. Virology 228:98-106.
- Liu, J. J., and E. B. Carstens (1996) Identification, molecular cloning and transcription analysis of the Choristoneura fumiferanaNuclear Polyhedrosis Virus spindle-like protein gene. Virology 223:396-400.
- Wu, Y, and E. B. Carstens (1996) Initiation of baculovirus DNA replication: early promoter regions can function as infection dependent replicating sequences in a plasmid based replication assay. J.Virol. 70: 6967-6972.
- Lu, A. , A. Craig , R. Casselman and E.B. Carstens. (1996) Nucleotide sequence, insertional mutagenesis and transcriptional mapping of a conserved region of the baculovirus Autographa californica nuclear polyhedrosis virus (map unit 64.8 to 66.9) Can. J. Micro. 42:1267-1273.
- Qiu, W., J. J. Liu and E. B. Carstens (1996) Studies of Choristoneura fumiferana nuclear polyhedrosis virus gene expression in insect cells. Virology 217: 564-572.
- Keyvani, H., P. Labrecque, F. Cai, E.B. Carstens, J.M Weber (1995) Adenovirus protease expressed in insect cells cleaves adenovirus proteins, ovalbumin and baculovirus protease in the absence of activating peptide. Virus Res. 37: 87-97.
- Liu, J.J. and E. B. Carstens. (1995) Identification, localization, transcription and sequence analysis of the Choristoneura fumiferana Nuclear Polyhedrosis Virus DNA polymerase gene. Virology 209:538-549.
- Carstens, E. B., H. Chan, H. Yu, G. V. Williams and R. Casselman. (1994) Genetic analyses of temperature sensitive mutations in baculovirus late expression factors. Virology 204: 323-337.
- Lu, A. and E.B. Carstens. (1993) Immediate-early baculovirusgenes that transactivate the p143 gene promtoer of Autographa californica nuclear polyhedrosis virus. Virology 195:710-718.
- Liu, J. J. and E. B.. Carstens. (1993) Infection of Spodoptera frugiperda and Choristoneura fumiferana cell lines with the baculovirus Choristoneura fumiferana Nuclear Polyhedrosis Virus. Can. J. Micro. 39: 932-940.
- Carstens, E.B. A.L. Lu and H.B. Chan. 1993. Sequence, transcriptional mapping, and overexpression of p47, a baculovirus gene regulating late gene expression. J. Virol. 67:2513-20.
- Lu, A. and E.B. Carstens. 1992a. Nucleotide sequence and transcriptional analysis of the p80 gene of Autographa californicanuclear polyhedrosis virus: a homologue of the Orgyia pseudosugata nuclear polyhedrosis virus capsid-associated gene. Virology 190:201-209.
- Lu. A. and E.B. Carstens. 1992b. Transcription analysis of the EcoRI D region of the Baculovirus Autographa californica nuclear polyhedrosis virus identifies an early 4-kilobase RNA encoding the essential p143 gene. J.Virol. 66:655-63.
Check the PubMed link for my publications prior to 1992!
International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses
Selected publications from my service to the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) where I held several positions including Chair of the Invertebrate Virus Subcommittee (6 years), Vice President (3 years) and President (6 years).
In 2016, I was elected as a Life Member of the ICTV.
- Adams, M. J., et al. (2015) Ratification vote on taxonomic proposals to the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (2015) Arch. Virol. 160: 1837-1850
- Adams, M. J., E. J. Lefkowitz, A. M. Q. King and E. B. Carstens (2014) Ratification vote on taxonomic proposals to the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (2014) Arch. Virol. 159: 2831-2841
- Adams, M. and E. B. Carstens (2014) Changes to the Statutes and Subcommittees of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (2014) Arch. Virol. 159: 2829-2830
- Adams, M. J., E. J. Lefkowitz, A. M. Q. King and E. B. Carstens (2014) Recently agreed changes to the Statutes of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses. Arch. Virol. 159:175-180
- Adams, M. J., E. J. Lefkowitz, A. M. Q. King and E. B. Carstens (2013) Recently agreed changes to the Statutes of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses. Archives of Virology 159:175-180
- Adams, M. J., E. J. Lefkowitz, A. M. Q. King and E. B. Carstens (2013) Recently agreed changes to the International Code of Virus Classification and Nomenclature. Archives of Virology 158:2633-2639
- Adams, M. J., A. M. Q. King and E. B. Carstens (2013) Ratification vote on taxonomic proposals to the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (2013). Archives of Virology 158:2023-2030
- Adams, M. J. and E. B. Carstens (2012) Ratification vote on taxonomic proposals to the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (2012) Archives of Virology 157:1411-1422
- Eric B. Carstens (2011) Part I. Introduction to Virus Taxonomy. Virus Taxonomy: Ninth Report of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses. Elsevier Academic Press
- Virus Taxonomy: Ninth Report of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses Edited by A. M. Q. King, M. J. Adams, E. B. Carstens and E. J. Lefkowiz. (2011) Elsevier Acadmic Press
- Carstens, E. B. (2009) Report from the 40th Meeting of Executive Committee of the International Committee of Taxonomy of Viruses. Archives of Virology 154:1571-1574
- Carstens, E. B. and L. A. Ball. (2009) Ratification Vote on Taxonomic Proposals to the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (2008). Archives of Virology 154:1181-1188
Virus Taxonomy: Seventh Report of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses Edited by: van Regenmortel, M. H. V., Fauquet, C. M., Bishop, D. H. L., Carstens, E. B., Estes, M. K., Lemon, S. M., Maniloff, J., Mayo, M. A., McGeoch, D. J., Pringle, C. R., and Wickner, R. B. (2000) Academic Press
Other publications not in PubMed
These references are not indexed in Pubmed and some are not available on-line.
Alliger, P., W. Trant, E. Carstens, E. Fanning. (1988) Partial purification and characterization of a primate protein that binds to the SV40 core origin of DNA replication. Biochim. Biophys. Acta. 951:396-402.
Carstens, E.B. (1980) Baculoviruses, Friend of Man, Foe of Insects? Trends in Biochemical Sciences 5:107-110.
Carstens, E.B., S.T. Tjia and W. Doerfler. (1980) Synthesis of intracellular proteins in Spodoptera frugiperda> cells infected with Autographa californica nuclear polyhedrosis virus. In: Kurstak, Maramorosch, Dubendorfer (eds.) Invertebrate Systems In Vitro. pp. 461-474.
Tjia, S.T., E.B. Carstens, and W. Doerfler. (1980) Replication of DNA of Autographa californica nuclear polyhedrosis virus in Spodoptera frugiperda cells. In: Kurstak, Maramorosch, Dubendorfer (eds.) Invertebrate Systems In Vitro, pp. 475-484
Opportunities for Undergrads
If you are an undergraduate at Queen's University, interested in a long term plan leading to graduate studies in virology, here is a potential scenario:
- Apply for a volunteer position in a virology lab during the university term
- Apply for a NSERC Undergraduate Summer Research Award (USRA) for a summer position in a virology lab
- Register in Micr499 to conduct your fourth year research project in a virology lab (you are only allowed to take one project course in Life Sciences)
- Register in Micr451 or Micr452, major undergraduate virology courses
- In the Fall of your fourth year, apply for a national scholarship (NSERC or CIHR) or provincial (OGS)
- In the winter of your fourth year, apply for entrance into our graduate program (if your grades are exceptional, you may be eligible for direct acceptance into a PhD program)
Please note that I am no longer accepting new graduate students.
Click on one of these links below:
- to find out more about current and past lab members,
- see a list of past summer students,
- view photos of past lab personnel, or
- to view more information on baculovirus
- Maike Bossert - research technician
- Complete List of Former Researchers
- Photos of previous lab personnel
Overseas Exchange Programs:
I have spent a considerable amount of time living and working in Germany, first as a Postdoctoral Fellow in Cologne and subsequently through five sabbatical leaves; one in Munich, three in Constance, and the latest one in Darmstadt (Julius Kühn Institute for biological control) as a Research Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung. As a recipient of the Humboldt Research Fellowship, my lab is eligible to serve as a host for German scholars through the Feodor Lynen Research Fellowship program of the Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung.
As a member of the Humbodt Association of Canada, I also encourage early career scholars to attend and participate in the multi-disciplinary "Kolleg". These very stimulating meetings are supported by the Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung, and have been held around the themes of Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and most recently, Time.
Through these experiences, I have developed a network of connections potentially serving as excellent cooperative exchanges. For example, funding for short term studies of Canadian Students in Germany is possible through the Ontario-Baden Württemberg exchange program. Because relatively few basic science students apply to this program, most of the scholarships are given to liberal arts students so there are incentives for science students to consider this program.
The experience of studying abroad is a definite advantage and unique opportunity to all students, but especially if they are considering to work after their studies for an international agency or business. The major requirement for the Ontario-Baden Württemberg student exchange is a full German language course. I would encourage all interested students to include this course as an option early in their programs and I would be pleased to discuss these ideas further with any interested student.
If you are interested in other exchange possibilities, check out the Queen's Exchange web site. Information on the programs sponsored by the Alexander von Humbodt Foundation for students, postdoctoral felllows and faculty can be found here.