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Address: 3-615 BSB
Phone: (319) 335-7612
Mentor: Chioma Okeoma, PhD
Undergraduate Institution: Temple University
PhD Institution: The University of South Dakota
My research focuses on how cellular restriction factors prevent the spread of viral infections. I primarily study bone marrow stromal antigen 2 (BST-2), a cellular restriction factor that inhibits the release and spread of enveloped viruses such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1), Simian immunodeficiency virus, Mouse mammary tumor virus (MMTV), Ebola virus, and Chikungunya virus from the surface of infected cells. This prevents the release and spread of viruses to naive cells. Our lab’s main goal is to demonstrate that mice infected with MMTV will be more prone to higher infection rates if their endogenous BST-2 is suppressed. MMTV is a milk-borne transmitted retrovirus where it is vertically transmitted from mother to her pups. After early infection, the viral particles travel to the Peyer’s patches where B-cells are initially infected with the virus. MMTV then codes for a superantigen that then infects T-cells which makes it an excellent model to study BST-2 response to viral infections. We were able to show that by decreasing the endogenous levels of BST-2, it resulted in higher infections in mice. Our data provided evidence that BST-2 does act as an antiviral restriction factor. From here, we are beginning to explore the functionality of BST-2 as a potential antiviral therapeutic drug. Currently, we are addressing how BST-2 is regulated within cells and how viruses can antagonize BST-2 which allows for greater viral egress from infected cells.
Jones PH, Mehta HV, Maric M, Roller RJ, & Okeoma CM. (2012). Bone marrow stromal cell antigen 2 (BST-2) restricts mouse mammary tumor virus (MMTV) replication in vivo. Retrovirology 9:10.
Jones PH, Mehta HV, & Okeoma CM. (2012). A novel role for APOBEC3: Susceptibility to sexual transmission of murine acquired immunodeficiency virus (mAIDS) is aggravated in APOBEC3 deficient mice. Retrovirology 9:50.
Mehta HV, Jones PH, & Okeoma CM. (2012). IFNα and LPS up-regulate APOBEC3 (A3) mRNA through different signaling pathways. J. Immunol.189:4088-4103.
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