The Role of ORF74 in Transmission of Kaposi’s Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus

Nicholas Carey : Molecular & Cell Biology, Statistics

Mentor: Fenyong Liu, Public Health

Kaposi’s Sarcoma Associated Herpesvirus (KSHV) establishes lifelong infections and can cause a variety of cancers and proliferative disorders in immunosuppressed individuals. Recent evidence indicates that oral contact is the primary route of transmission for KSHV. The goal of this project is to elucidate the mechanism of reactivation for transmission of KSHV in the hopes of developing novel treatments to reduce the incidence of infection in the community. Nicholas will infect human oral keratinocytes with several KSHV mutants, and qPCR will be used to analyze transcription patterns to determine the role of a virally encoded G-Protein Coupled Receptor in reactivation of latent infection. If gene knockout successfully limits viral progeny production, Nicholas will test potential drug therapies for their ability to recapitulate this phenotype.