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Che Colpitts PhD
 Che Colpitts
Assistant Professor
Contact Info
Botterell Hall, Room 714

Academic Experience

  • 2017 – 2019: Research Associate, Division of Infection and Immunity, University College London, UK
  • 2014 – 2017: Postdoctoral Researcher, Institute of Viral and Liver Disease, University of Strasbourg, France
  • 2009 – 2014: PhD in Virology, University of Alberta, Canada
  • 2007 – 2009: MSc in Biochemistry, University of Regina, Canada
  • 2003 – 2007: BSc in Biochemistry, University of Regina, Canada

Research Interests

We study virus-host interactions, focusing on positive-sense RNA viruses such as Flaviviridae (hepatitis C virus and dengue virus) and Coronaviridae (HCoV-229E and SARS-CoV-2). One project focuses on the roles of glycans in coronavirus entry and pathogenesis, aiming to understand how cellular and viral glycans mediate viral entry into target cells. Furthermore, viral glycoproteins such as SARS-CoV-2 spike protein activate the pattern recognition receptor TLR4, which leads to induction of pro-inflammatory cytokines and may contribute to the cytokine storm associated with SARS-CoV-2 pathogenesis. We are characterizing the mechanisms underlying spike activation of TLR4, which may help to identify new treatment strategies to provide therapeutic benefit in the context of viral cytokine storms

Another project focuses on the roles of cellular cyclophilins in the replication and immune evasion of positive-sense RNA viruses (hepatitis C virus, dengue virus, and coronaviruses). These positive-sense RNA viruses rearrange host intracellular membranes to form membranous viral replication organelles (ROs) in the cytoplasm of infected cells. We are evaluating the roles of cyclophilins in RO formation, and in the antagonism of cellular antiviral responses by these viruses. Finally, we are characterizing how cells sense and respond to these membrane rearrangements induced by positive-sense RNA viruses. We aim to identify perspectives for novel antiviral strategies broadly active against emerging and currently untreatable positive-sense RNA viruses.

Please see for more details on our research.

Selected Publications

  1. Mamatis JE, Gallardo-Flores CE, Sangwan U, Tooley T, Walsh T, and Colpitts CC (2023) Induction of antiviral gene expression by cyclosporine A, but not inhibition of cyclophilin A or B, contributes to its restriction of human coronavirus 229E infection in a lung epithelial cell line. Antiviral Research 219: 105730 (IF 10.1)
  2. Banting H, Goode I, Gallardo-Flores CE, Colpitts CC and Saavedra CE (2023) Electromagnetic deactivation spectroscopy of human coronavirus 229E. Scientific Reports 13: 8886
  3. Jagoda E, Marnetto D, Senevirathne G, Gonzalez V, Baid K, Montinaro F, Richard D, Falzarano D, LeBlanc EV, Colpitts CC, Banerjee A, Pagani L and Capellini TD (2023) Regulatory dissection of the severe COVID-19 risk locus introgressed by Neanderthals. eLife 12: e71235
  4. Archer SL, Dasgupta A, Chen K-H, Wu D, Baid K, Mamatis JE, Gonzalez V, Read A, Bentley RET, Martin AY, Mewburn JD, Dunham-Snary KJ, Evans G, Levy G, Jones O, Al-Qazazi R, Ring B, Alizadeh E, Hindmarch CCT, Rossi J, Lima PDA, Falzarano D, Banerjee A and Colpitts CC (2022) SARS-CoV-2 mitochondriopathy in COVID-19 pneumonia exacerbates hypoxemia. Redox Biology 58: 102508 (IF 11.8)
  5. Halajian E, LeBlanc EV, Gee K and Colpitts CC (2022) Activation of TLR4 by viral glycoproteins: A double-edged sword? Front. Microbiol. 13: 1007081
  6. LeBlanc EV and Colpitts CC (2022) The green tea catechin EGCG provides proof-of-concept for a pan-coronavirus entry inhibitor. Scientific Reports 12: 12899
  7. Mamatis JE, Pellizzari-Delano IE, Gallardo-Flores CE and Colpitts CC (2022) Emerging roles of cyclophilin A in regulating viral cloaking. Front. Microbiol. 13: 828078
  8. LeBlanc EV and Colpitts CC(2021) SARS-CoV-2 RNA: Exclusive friends and common foes. Cell 184(9): 2276-2278 
  9. Gallardo-Flores CE and Colpitts CC(2021) Cyclophilins and their roles in hepatitis C virus and flavivirus infections: Perspectives for novel antiviral approaches. Pathogens 10(7): 902
  10. LeBlanc EV, Kim Y, Capicciotti CJ and Colpitts CC(2021) Hepatitis C virus glycan-dependent interactions and the potential for novel preventative strategies. Pathogens 10: 685
  11. LeBlanc EV and Colpitts CC(2021) A dual antibody test for accurate surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 exposure rates. Cell Reports Medicine 2(3):100223
  12. Colpitts CC*, Ridewood S, Schneiderman B, Warne J, Tabata K, Ng CF, Bartenschlager R, Selwood D and Towers GJ*. (2020) Hepatitis C virus exploits cyclophilin A to evade PKR. eLife 9:e52237 (*co-corresponding author)
  13. Eller C, Heydmann L, Colpitts CC, El Saghire H, Piccioni F, Jühling F, Mazjoub K, Pons C, Bach C, Lucifora J, Lupberger J, Nassal M, Cowley GS, Fujiwara N, Hsieh SY, Hoshida Y, Felli E, Pessaux P, Sureau C, Schuster C, Root DE, Verrier ER and Baumert TF. (2020) A genome-wide gain-of-function screen identifies CDKN2C as a HBV host factor. Nat. Comm. 11:2707
  14. Colpitts CC, Tsai P-L and Zeisel MB. (2020) Hepatitis C virus entry: An intriguingly complex and highly regulated process. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 21: pii:E20190
  15. Olbrich A, Wardemann J, Böhm S, Rother K, Colpitts CC, Wrensch F, Baumert TF, Berg T and Beckert J. (2019) Repertoire and neutralizing activity of antibodies against E2 peptide in patients with spontaneous resolution of hepatitis CJ. Infect. Dis. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiz274.
  16. Colpitts CC, Tawar RG, Mailly L, Thumann C, Heydmann L, Durand SC, Xiao F, Pessaux P, Zeisel MB and Baumert TF (2018) Humanisation of a claudin-1-specific monoclonal antibody for clinical prevention and cure of HCV infection without escapeGut doi: 10.1136/gutjnl-2016-312577
  17. Eller C, Heydmann L, Colpitts CC, Verrier ER, Schuster C and Baumert TF (2018) The functional role of sodium taurocholate cotransporting polypeptide NTCP in the life cycle of hepatitis B, C and D virusesCell. Mol. Life Sci.71:3895-3905
  18. Behrendt P, Perin P, Menzel N, Banda D, Pfaender S, Alves MP, Thiel V, Meulemann P, Colpitts CC, Schang LM, Vondran FWR, Kusuma A, Manns MP, Steinmann E and Pietschmann T (2017) Pentagalloylglucose, a highly bioavailable polyphenolic compound present in Cortex moutan, efficiently blocks hepatitis C virus entryAntiviral Res. 147:19-28 
  19. Colpitts CC and Baumert TF (2017) SMAD about hepatitis C virus cell entry and liver diseaseGastroenterology 152:21-23 
  20. Verrier ER#, Colpitts CC#, Bach C, Heydmann L, Zona L, Xiao F, Thumann C, Crouchet E, Gaudin R, Sureau C, Cosset FL, McKeating JA, Pessaux P, Hoshida Y, Schuster C, Zeisel MB and Baumert TF (2016) Solute carrier NTCP regulates innate antiviral immune responses targeting hepatitis C virus infection of hepatocytesCell Reports 17:1357-1368 (#equal contribution)
  21. Verrier ER, Colpitts CC, Bach C, Heydmann L, Weiss A, Renaud M, Durand SC, Habersetzer F, Durantel D, Abou-Jaoudé G, López Ledesma MM, Felmlee DJ, Soumillon M, Croonenborghs T, Pochet N, Nassal M, Schuster C, Brino L, Sureau C, Zeisel MB and Baumert TF (2016) A targeted functional RNAi screen uncovers glypican 5 as an entry factor for hepatitis B and D virusesHepatology 63:35-48 
  22. Colpitts CC, Lupberger J and Baumert TF (2016) Multifaceted role of E-cadherin in hepatitis C virus infection and pathogenesisProc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 113:7298-300 
  23. Colpitts CC and Baumert TF (2016) Addressing the challenges of hepatitis C virus resistance and treatment failureViruses doi: 10 3390/v8080226 
  24. Fauvelle C, Colpitts CC, Keck Z, Pierce BG, Foung SKH and Baumert TF (2016) Hepatitis C virus B cell vaccines inducing protective neutralizing antibodiesExpert Rev. Vaccines doi:10 1080/14760584 2016 1194759 
  25. Tawar RG, Colpitts CC, Timm J, Fehm T, Roggendorf M, Meisel H, Meyer N, Habersetzer F, Cosset FL, Berg T, Zeisel MB and Baumert TF (2015) Acute hepatitis C virus infection induces anti-host cell receptor antibodies with virus-neutralizing propertiesHepatology 62:726-36 
  26. Kusuma A, Romero-Brey I, Berger C, Colpitts CC, Boldanova T, Engelmann M, Todt D, Perin PM, Behrendt P, Vondran FW, Xu S, Goffinet C, Schang LM, Heim MH, Bartenschlager R, Pietschmann T and Steinmann E (2015) Interferon-inducible cholesterol-25-hydroxylase restricts hepatitis C virus replication via blockage of membranous web formationHepatology 62:702-14 
  27. Colpitts CC and Baumert TF (2015) A new HCV cell culture model for the next clinical challengesNat. Rev. Gastro. Hepatol. 12:611-13 
  28. Colpitts CC, El-Saghire H, Pochet N, Schuster C and Baumert TF (2015) High-throughput approaches to unravel hepatitis C virus-host interactionsVirus Res. 218: 18-24
  29. Colpitts CC, Verrier ER and Baumert TF (2015) Targeting viral entry for treatment of hepatitis B and C virus infectionsACS Infect. Dis. 1:420-427 
  30. Colpitts CC, Lupberger J, Doerig C and Baumert TF (2015) Host cell kinases and the hepatitis C virus life cycleBiochim. Biophys. Acta Proteins Proteom. 1854:1657-62 
  31. Colpitts CC, Zeisel MB and Baumert TF (2015) When one receptor closes, another opens: Claudins and the hepatitis C virus E1 glycoproteinHepatology 62:991-3 
  32. Colpitts CC and Schang LM (2014) A small molecule inhibits virion attachment to heparan sulfate- or sialic acid-containing glycansJ. Virol. 88:7806-17 
  33. Kusuma A, Colpitts CC, Schang LM, Rachmawati H, Frentzen A, Pfaender S, Behrendt P, Brown RJP, Bankwitz D, Steinmann J, Ott M, Meuleman P, Rice CM, Ploss A, Pietschmann T and Steinmann E (2014) Turmeric curcumin inhibits entry of all hepatitis C virus genotypes into human liver cellsGut 63:1137-49
  34. Colpitts CC, Ustinov AV, Epand RF, Epand RM, Korshun VA and Schang LM (2013) 5-(Perylen-3-yl)ethynyl-arabino-uridine (aUY11), an arabino-based rigid amphipathic fusion inhibitor, targets virion envelope lipids to inhibit fusion of influenza, hepatitis C and other enveloped virusesJ. Virol. 87(7): 3640-54
  35. Ciesek S, von Hahn T, Colpitts CC, Schang LM, Friesland M, Steinmann J, Manns MP, Ott M, Wedermeyer H, Meuleman P, Pietschmann T and Steinmann E (2011) The green tea polyphenol epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) inhibits hepatitis C virus (HCV) entryHepatology 54:1947-55
  36. St Vincent MR, Colpitts CC, Ustinov AV, Muqadas M, Joyce MA, Barsby NL, Epand RF, Epand RM, Khramyshev SA, Valueva OA, Korshun VA, Tyrrell DLJ and Schang LM (2010Rigid amphipathic fusion inhibitors, small molecule antiviral compounds against enveloped virusesProc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 107:17339-44