Research Departments & Organizations
Molecular Virology: Virology Laboratories
Our research is directed at understanding a central unexplained phenomenon in virology, namely mechanisms underlying viral persistence and reactivation.
Specialized Terms: Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV); Kaposi's Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus (KSHV); Tumor virology
Extensive Research Description
We study two related human tumor viruses: Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), which is associated with lymphomas and carcinomas; and Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV), which is associated with Kaposi’s sarcoma and lymphomas that occur in patients with AIDS. Both viruses establish “latent states” in host cells, during which only a limited number of viral genes are expressed. We have discovered multifunctional virally encoded transcription factors and replication proteins, ZEBRA and Rta in EBV and KSHV ORF50, which mediate a switch between latency and the lytic cycle. Our lab studies the control of ZEBRA, Rta and ORF50 expression and their mechanisms of action and interaction. We are interested in the basis of viral specificity of these activators. We also investigate how the immune system detects and regulates the latent and lytic cycle program of EBV in B cells.