The Smithgall Lab studies the role of Src family kinases and HIV-1 accessory protein Nef in HIV infection and pathogenesis. Nef is a relatively small protein that has an essential role in enhancing viral infectivity, viral replication, and evasion of host cell immunity. Nef has been found to activate members of the Src family of tyrosine kinases, which play a vital role in immune cell signaling. Previous X-ray crystallographic studies have suggested that Nef dimerization is essential for kinase activation and that several hydrophobic interactions between Nef αB helices are responsible for dimerization. I intend to probe the dimer interface of the Nef homodimer to better understand the inter- and intramolecular forces at play and examine the role homodimer formation plays in Nef function. In my work, I aim to use a variety of biochemical and biophysical methods, including X-ray crystallography, hydrogen deuterium exchange mass spectrometry (HDX-MS), and cell-based fluorescence complementation assays, to understand the molecular and atomic underpinnings of HIV-1 accessory protein Nef as they relate to HIV-1 latency.
B.S. Molecular and Cell Biology, University of Connecticut, 2015
PhD Advisor: Dr. Thomas E. Smithgall
University of Pittsburgh
Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics
533 Bridgeside Point II
450 Technology Dr.
Pittsburgh, PA 15219