Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences Department
3D chromatin control of DNA viruses
1300 University Ave.
Madison, WI 53706
Molecular & Genome Biology of Microbes; Transcriptional Mechanisms; Virology
Viruses are disease-causing obligate intracellular parasites. Upon infection, they hijack cellular pathways to ensure their own survival and spread. Viruses with DNA genomes adopt a genomic structure similar to the chromatin that protects and regulates host cellular chromosomes. Chromatin is comprised of DNA wrapped around histone proteins marked by specific epigenetic post-translational modifications (e.g. phosphorylation, acetylation and methylation) that regulate gene transcription and repression. Chromatin can also regulate transcription through the formation of higher order structures known as threedimensional loops created and controlled by the interaction of chromatin bound proteins that can be separated by large linear distances. Our laboratory studies how the chromatin structure of viral genomes is established and how it regulates viral infections in hopes of using that knowledge to cure or treat viral infections. The major focus of my laboratory is understanding how the three dimensional structure of the Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 (HSV-1) genome controls its transcription.