HCOM Biomedical Sciences
Life Sciences Building 227
Education: Ph.D. University of Washington Seattle Washington 1986
Research Interest: Herpesvirus, human cytomegalovirus
The primary focus in my laboratory is the herpesvirus, human cytomegalovirus. Cytomegalovirus infection is extremely prevalent, with approximately 80% of the population demonstrating evidence of infection. In the majority of individuals, infection is asymptomatic. However, in people with insufficient immune responses, cytomegalovirus infection is associated with severe and often fatal disease. Some examples include mental retardation or deafness in newborn infants, pneumonia in bone marrow transplant recipients and retinitis in people with AIDS. My laboratory is interested in understanding, at a molecular level, the events that are required for viral gene expression and replication and ultimately, the events responsible for the pathology seen following infection.
Human cytomegalovirus synthesizes several proteins that enable the virus to escape detection and elimination by the immune system. The viral US3 gene retains major histocompatibility complex class I molecules in the endoplasmic reticulum, thereby delaying the presentation of viral antigens to the host's cytotoxic T cells. My lab has been interested in the regulation of US3 expression and the function of the US3 proteins. We have identified a DNA element in the US3 gene that causes expression of the US3 gene to be shut off. A viral protein, encoded by the UL34 gene, binds to the DNA element. We are currently investigating how UL34 regulates US3 expression. For further information, please email me.