A Functional Study of HCMV UL 21 Transcript and Protein

Jonathan Clingan : Molecular and Cell Biology

Mentor: Fenyong Liu, Public Health

Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is a member of the herpesvirus family, and a major cause of disease in people with compromised immune systems, particularly AIDS patients. Through the course of Jonathan’s research, several viral mutants that exhibit a severely attenuated ability to grow in cell culture have been identified. Jonathan will study the function of a protein encoded by open reading frame (ORF) UL 21, in which a mutation causes significantly attenuated growth. Through the process of recombination, the protein can be labeled using an epitope tag. Using antibodies that are coupled to a reporter enzyme, the proteins can then be studied using immunoassays to determine clues as to its possible role in the cell. Once the function of the protein encoded by the gene is understood, it can be used as a possible target for therapy. The research will culminate in an honors thesis in Molecular and Cell Biology.