Peggy Lugo

Scholar: Peggy Lugo

Peggy Lugo

Major: Biotechnology

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Stephen St. Jeor

Research Topic: Identification of Proteins Involved in Regulating HCMV Latency

Abstract: Human Cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is a betaherpes virus responsible for a widespread infection among the human population. HCMV exists in two states: a lytic (productive) and a latent (non-productive) state.  During latency, the virus resides within cells of a myeloid lineage where it remains invisible to the immune system.  The mechanisms that regulate HCMV latency remain to be studied.  So far it is known that hDAXX, a human cellular protein, acts to inhibit HMCV lytic replication via recruiting histone deactylases (HDACs), however, the viral proteins involved in driving latency are still mostly unknown.

In this study, we will identify the viral proteins that interact with hDAXX to promote a latent viral state.  We will use Co-immunoprecipitation to pull down the HCMV proteins that bind to hDAXX in both a lytic and a latent state. This will help to determine which proteins are involved with regulating HCMV latency.  It is important to fully characterize HCMV latency in order to fully understand the pathology of the disease.  Furthermore, reactivation of HCMV in immunocompromised and/or transplant recipients can result in sever symptoms such as CMV retinitis, graft rejection, and in some cases can be fatal.  If the mechanisms that control latency can be identified, we may be able to design therapies to promote a latent state in the above cases to inhibit reactivation of the virus.

New Scholar: Fall 2008

Graduated With Baccalaureate Degree: Spring 2010