B.A. Wellesley College
Ph. D.Tufts University School of Medicine
Postdoctoral training at Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Mechanisms of Paramyxovirus Membrane Fusion
Assembly of Paramyxoviruses
Development of Virus Vaccines
My laboratory is exploring the molecular mechanisms of paramyxovirus entry into susceptible cells and the assembly and release of infectious virus from infected cells. Paramyxoviruses are simple negative-stranded, enveloped RNA viruses. The two viral glycoproteins, the hemagglutinin-neuraminidase (HN) protein and the fusion (F) protein, mediate entry of the virus into cells. The HN protein is the virus attachment protein and the F protein directly mediates the membrane fusion required for virus penetration. However, the HN protein is required to activate the fusion activity of the F protein. Using Newcastle disease virus as a model paramyxovirus, my laboratory is exploring the molecular mechanisms involved in the activation of the fusion protein and the requirements for the conformational changes in the F protein required to mediate membrane fusion.
Release of progeny paramyxoviruses from infected cells requires the assembly of the structural components of the virion, the viral glycoproteins, the matrix protein, and the ribonucleoprotein core, followed by the budding of mature virus from surfaces of infected cells. We are exploring the protein interactions required for the formation of assembly complexes, the cell domains involved in virus assembly, and the host cell contributions to virus assembly and release.
My laboratory is also exploring the potential of virus-like particles as vaccines for different paramyxoviruses.