Leib Laboratory

Research

Herpes simplex virus (HSV) is a highly evolved and successful pathogen with a very wide distribution in the human population, close to 100% in some populations. HSV often manages to forge the near-perfect lifelong relationship with us, its human host. Despite the availability of excellent antiviral drugs such as acyclovir and valtrex, HSV is refractory to cure. This is due to the ability of HSV to invade neurons, to translocate to neuronal cell bodies, and establish latent infections therein. Our over-arching interest is to understand how HSV modulates the immune system of the host. This immune-modulation allows HSV to successfully establish latency, and more remarkably, to allow the virus to escape from the immune host to infect other susceptible individuals in the population. Our experimental approach is to use forward and reverse genetics to introduce mutations into the viral genome to generate recombinant viruses. We then use these recombinant viruses in vitro and in vivo to allow the study of viral pathogenesis at the molecular level, and to examine the outcome of the host-pathogen battle.

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Recent Publications

Maternal immunization confers protection against neonatal herpes simplex mortality and behavioral morbidity.
Patel CD, Backes IM, Taylor SA, Jiang Y, Marchant A, Pesola JM, Coen DM, Knipe DM, Ackerman ME, Leib DA
Sci Transl Med. 2019 Apr 10;11(487) pii: eaau6039. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aau6039.
PMID: 30971454

The ESCRT-Related ATPase Vps4 Is Modulated by Interferon during Herpes Simplex Virus 1 Infection.
Cabrera JR, Manivanh R, North BJ, Leib DA
MBio. 2019 Mar 5;10(2) pii: e02567-18. doi: 10.1128/mBio.02567-18. Epub 2019 Mar 5.
PMID: 30837340

The US11 Gene of Herpes Simplex Virus 1 Promotes Neuroinvasion and Periocular Replication following Corneal Infection.
Charron AJ, Ward SL, North BJ, Ceron S, Leib DA
J Virol. 2019 May 1;93(9) pii: e02246-18. doi: 10.1128/JVI.02246-18. Epub 2019 Apr 17.
PMID: 30760571

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