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Research & Ongoing Projects

Current Areas of Study

Elucidating KSHV G Protein-Coupled Receptors’ Role in Innate Immunity through Paracrine Signaling

KSHV G Protein-Coupled Receptors play a critical role in tumorigenesis through paracrine signaling. We have been focusing on understanding the role of vGPCR and the activation of the complement system through extracellular vesicles.

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Trafficking and localization of KSHV's viral GPCR

G Protein-Coupled Receptors are surface proteins that span the plasma membrane seven times (7-transmembrane receptor), are found across many cell types, and traffic through the endolysosomal network after being stimulated while at the surface. Some GPCRs continue to signal from within the cell. KSHV hijacked and modified a human chemokine gene, which has evolved into KSHV's vGPCR. We are exploring how trafficking and localization of vGPCR compare to human GPCRs, and if vGPCR's trafficking modulates its signaling.

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Host-viral protein interactions

Proteins interact with one another to regulate each other's activity. A previous proteomics screen from the Krogan Lab (UC San Francisco, Davis et al. 2015 DOI: 10.1016/j.molcel.2014.11.026) showed that KSHV-encoded proteins interact with an array of host proteins. We are expanding the known interaction map and following up on key interactions by interrogating their biological relevance in endothelial cells, the primary cell type of Kaposi's Sarcoma.

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Transcriptional regulation of host genes and metabolism

Viral G Protein-Coupled Receptor (vGPCR) is a signaling protein that has been connected to modulating host cell transcription and paracrine signaling. Using RNA expression methodologies like qPCR and Mi-Seq we are determining the relative metabolic gene expression in vGPCR expressing cells. This will illuminate the role vGPCR plays in transcriptional regulation of endothelial cells.

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