Major

Biology

Research Abstract

Human Cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is a widespread pathogen that causes lifelong latent infection in the majority of the world’s population. HCMV rarely causes disease in healthy adults. However, immune-compromised individuals like transplant recipients and AIDS patients can suffer from life-threatening disease. HCMV encodes US27, an orphan receptor that increases the expression and signaling activity of CXCR4, a host chemokine receptor important for development, hematopoiesis, and immune cell trafficking. Nuclear respiratory factor-1 (NRF-1) is the primary transcription factor regulating CXCR4 gene expression through a regulatory sequence called anti-oxidant response element (ARE). Since NRF-1 governs expression of many metabolic genes regulating cellular growth and respiration, we wondered whether these genes would also be upregulated upon HCMV infection. Here, we used the polymerase chain reaction to investigate expression of ARE-containing metabolic genes in HEK293 cells expressing US27. The results are expected to clarify the role of US27 during HCMV infection and could aid in the discovery of novel anti-viral drug targets.

Faculty Mentor/Advisor

Juliet Spencer

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Apr 28th, 10:00 AM Apr 28th, 3:00 PM

Impact of Human Cytomegalovirus Infection on Host Stress Response Genes

Human Cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is a widespread pathogen that causes lifelong latent infection in the majority of the world’s population. HCMV rarely causes disease in healthy adults. However, immune-compromised individuals like transplant recipients and AIDS patients can suffer from life-threatening disease. HCMV encodes US27, an orphan receptor that increases the expression and signaling activity of CXCR4, a host chemokine receptor important for development, hematopoiesis, and immune cell trafficking. Nuclear respiratory factor-1 (NRF-1) is the primary transcription factor regulating CXCR4 gene expression through a regulatory sequence called anti-oxidant response element (ARE). Since NRF-1 governs expression of many metabolic genes regulating cellular growth and respiration, we wondered whether these genes would also be upregulated upon HCMV infection. Here, we used the polymerase chain reaction to investigate expression of ARE-containing metabolic genes in HEK293 cells expressing US27. The results are expected to clarify the role of US27 during HCMV infection and could aid in the discovery of novel anti-viral drug targets.