Virology & Antiviral Research 2324-8955

Steven J Triezenberg

Steven J Triezenberg
Van Andel Institute, Grand Rapids, MI

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Research Interest

The question that drives the research in this laboratory is how the expression of genes in eukaryotic cells is regulated. In particular, we focus on the mechanisms whereby transcription of protein-encoding genes (that is, the synthesis of mRNA) is activated by a regulatory protein. One model system for much of our work utilizes a transcriptional activator protein from herpes simplex virus, a nearly ubiquitous human pathogen. This activator, termed VP16, stimulates transcription of the first viral genes to be expressed during an infection, and thus triggers the entire cascade of viral gene expression and replication that eventually leads to the production and release of new virus. The transcriptional activation domain of VP16 is exceptionally potent, can function when fused to many other DNA-binding proteins, and is capable of activating transcription in mammalian, yeast, insect, and plant cells. This versatility and potency has made VP16 an important model for many investigations into mechanisms of transcriptional activation. To explore the structure and function of the VP16 activation domain, we have generated many mutations throughout this domain and have tested the altered proteins in genetic and biochemical assays of transcription. Among the surprising results of our work are the observations that this domain actually comprises two subdomains, each capable of independent activity

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