Impact of Human Cytomegalovirus (HCMV) protein US27 on host & viral gene expression
HCMV is a widespread pathogen in the general population and can cause severe disease in immune- compromised hosts. HCMV manipulates immune responses in several ways, one of which includes encoding genes with homology to host chemokine receptors. HCMV US27 encodes a chemokine-like receptor that stimulates host gene expression. While, no chemokine ligand has been identified for US27, it is constitutively active. US27 stimulates the gene expression of antioxidant response element (ARE) regulated genes by activation of the transcription factor nuclear respiratory factor 1 (NRF-1). The goal of this project is to identify specific host and viral genes that are regulated by US27. Increased expression of antioxidant genes is likely to benefit virus infection and enable more progeny virus to be produced. Thus, a better understanding of the US27 function has the potential to lead to the development of novel antiviral therapies necessary to treat HCMV infection.