Weitzman Laboratory

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The Weitzman Lab investigates how viruses create conditions conducive to their reproduction by shaping host cell environments, particularly with regards to genome interactions. The lab discovered cellular antiviral defenses, and identified viral strategies to manipulate these host processes. The lab’s work addresses the dynamic interactions between viruses and host cells when their genomes are in conflict.

The confrontation between viral and host genomes provides a battleground that provides lessons in genome protection, and which will help guide therapeutic strategies to fight infection and cancer. The pathways illuminated are key to combatting viral infection, provide insights into fundamental processes that maintain genome instability, and have implications for developing viral vectors for gene therapy.

The Weitzman Lab investigates the interplay between viral genetic material and host defense strategies. The lab team has used proteomic approaches to probe the interactions taking place on viral and cellular genomes during infection, and have uncovered ways that viruses manipulate chromatin and DNA damage responses as they take control of cellular processes.

Project Highlights

  • Host restriction factors: identifying cellular pathways that limit virus infection and how they are countered by viral proteins
  • Virus-host epigenetics: uncovering the role of chromatin in host defenses and how viruses exploit histones and modifying enzymes
  • Viral ubiquitin ligases: using proteomics to identify cellular substrates degraded or manipulated by viral ubiquitin ligases
  • RNA processing during virus infections: using DNA viruses to understand how cellular RNA processing pathways are manipulated to promote infection
  • APOBEC enzymes and cancer: understanding how APOBEC3 editing enzymes can contribute to mutations in cancer genomes and drive genome instability
  • Nuclear architecture during virus infection: using imaging and genomic approaches to probe how viruses alter the nucleus and cellular functions      
Leader

Matthew D. Weitzman, PhD

Co-Director, Division of Protective Immunity
Dr. Weitzman's research program aims to understand host responses to virus infection, and the cellular environment encountered and manipulated by viruses. He studies multiple viruses in an integrated experimental approach that combines biochemistry, molecular biology, genetics, and cell biology.