Fanxiu Zhu, PhD

Editorial Board Member

Department of Biological Sciences
Florida State University, USA

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Fanxiu Zhu studies includes Kaposi’s sarcoma–associated herpesvirus (KSHV), a human DNA tumor virus associated with several human malignancies, including Kaposi’s sarcoma, primary effusion lymphoma, and multicentric Castleman’s disease. I am interested in viral proteins that are localized in the tegument layer, a space between capsid and envelope in the virus particle. The tegument comprises at least a dozen proteins that are delivered into cells upon infection, so they have the opportunity to exert their functions at the very beginning in the infection process. The unique temporal and spatial expressions of tegument proteins put them in the forefront of coping with the host cellular environment. We discovered that KSHV tegument protein ORF45 interacts with interferon regulatory factor 7 (IRF-7) and antagonizes host antiviral response. Recently, we found that ORF45 also interacts with p90 ribosomal S6 kinases (RSKs) and modulates the ERK/RSK MAPK signaling pathway, which plays critical roles in KSHV lytic replication. We are now exploring the mechanisms by which ORF45 evades innate immune response and modulates ERK/RSK signaling. We are also interested in the structural analysis of herpesvirus tegument by cryoEM. The structural organization and morphogenesis of herpesviral tegument are largely unknown. We use various approaches to investigate why and how viral proteins are selectively assembled into the tegumen

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