Susan R Compton PhD

Research Scientist in Comparative Medicine; Director, Molecular, Serological and Virological Diagnostics

Research Interests

Pathogenesis of rodent viral infections; Diagnostic Virology; Bacterial Expression Systems; Communicable Diseases; Disease Control; Disease Model; Eukaryotic Expression Systems; Gastrointestinal Infection; Host Organism Interaction; Immunization; Immunoassay; Infectious Diseases/Agents; Intestinal Mucosa; Laboratory Mouse; Laboratory Rat; Molecular Probes; Murine Hepatitis Virus; Norovirus; Parvovirus; Pathogenesis; Polymerase Chain Reaction; Rat Coronavirus; Receptor Binding; Respiratory Diseases; RT-RCR; Serology; Sialodacryoadenitis Virus; Site Directed Mutagenesis; Vaccine; Viral Studies; Virion; Virology; Virulence; Virus Infection Mechanism; Virus Protein; Virus Receptor; Western Blotting

Extensive Research Description

  1. Noroviruses (formerly called Norwalk-like viruses) infect humans,cows, pigs and mice. They are emerging human pathogens that causegreater than ninety percent of all epidemic viral gastroenteritisoutbreaks in the United States. Until recently, norovirus research washampered by the failure of these viruses to grow in cultured cells andthe lack of a small animal model. Murine norovirus was identified in2003 as a new mouse pathogen, and it is the first and only norovirus tobe grown in cell culture. Murine norovirus 1 (MNV-1) causes asubclinical infection in immunocompetent mice without significanttissue pathology. In contrast, MNV-1 caused a disseminated lethalinfection in mice with deficient innate immune responses (STAT-/-mice). We have isolated 13 strains of MNV from fecal samples collectedfrom asymptomatic mice. Sequences of a portion of the capsid gene fromthese strains indicated that they differed substantially from previousMNV strains and they could be placed into 4 genetic groups. Theobjectives our research are to determine the pathogenesis and thetransmissibility of one strain of MNV from each genetic cluster inadult and neonatal immunocompetent mice, and to determine if diseaseseverity in STAT-/- mice is MNV strain dependent. These studies shouldaid in the development of detection, prevention and eradicationstrategies for MNV in laboratory mouse colonies. Additionally, theywill aid in determining the relevancy of MNV as a model for humannorovirus infection.
  2. Mouse hepatitis virus (MHV) is a highlytransmissible coronavirus which causes frequent infections incontemporary laboratory mouse colonies. Though most natural MHVinfections are self-limiting and clinically inapparent, theysignificantly impact biomedical research by altering researchvariables. MHV strains can be segregated based on their initial site ofreplication into respiratory R-MHV and enterotropic E-MHV strains.While E-MHV infections are the most common, few studies have been doneon their pathogenesis. The objective of this project is to understandwhich viral and cellular proteins determine the strict enterotropism ofE-MHV strains and to understand the immune responses generated against E-MHV.
  3. My other research interest is the development andvalidation of new diagnostic methods to detect rodentpathogens (coronavirus, parvovirus, norovirus, Sendai virus, rotavirus,hantavirus, mycoplasma and Helicobacter)


Selected Publications

  • Macy J.D., F.X. Paturzo, S.R. Compton. 2013. Effect of Immunodeficiency on MPV Shedding and Transmission. J. Am Assoc. Lab. Anim. Sci. 52:467-474
  • Compton S.R., F.X. Paturzo, P.C. Smith, J.D. Macy. 2012. Transmission of Mouse Parvovirus by Fomites. J. Am Assoc. Lab. Anim. Sci, 51(6): 775-780.
  • Grove, K.A., P.C. Smith, C.J. Booth, S.R. Compton. 2012. Age-Associated Variability in Susceptibility of Swiss Webster Mice to MPV and Other Excluded Murine Pathogens. J. Am Assoc. Lab. Anim. Sci, 51(6): 789-796.
  • Compton S.R., F.X. Paturzo, J.D. Macy. 2012. Transmission of Mouse Parvovirus to Neonatal Mice. J. Am Assoc. Lab. Anim. Sci, 51(6): 797-802.
  • Compton, S.R., F.X. Paturzo and J.D. Macy. 2010. Effect of Murine Norovirus Infection on Mouse Parvovirus Infection. J Am Assoc Lab Anim Sci. 49(10) 11-21.
  • Compton SR .2008. Prevention of murine norovirus infection in neonatal mice by fostering. J Am Assoc Lab Anim Sci. 47(3):25-30.

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