Moses V Chao

University of Wuerzburg, Würzburg, Bavaria, Germany

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Publications (195)1594.87 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Measuring the synthesis of new proteins in the context of a much greater number of pre-existing proteins can be difficult. To overcome this obstacle, bioorthogonal noncanonical amino acid tagging (BONCAT) can be combined with stable isotope labeling by amino acid in cell culture (SILAC) for comparative proteomic analysis of de novo protein synthesis (BONLAC). In the present study, we show that alkyne resin-based isolation of L-azidohomoalanine (AHA) labeled proteins using azide/alkyne cycloaddition minimizes contamination from pre-existing proteins. Using this approach, we isolated and identified 7414 BONCAT-labeled proteins. The nascent proteome isolated by BONCAT was very similar to the steady-state proteome, though transcription factors were highly enriched by BONCAT. About 30% of the methionine residues were replaced by AHA in our BONCAT samples, which allowed for identification of methionine-containing peptides. There was no bias against low methionine proteins by BONCAT at the proteome level. When we applied the BONLAC approach to screen for brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)-induced protein synthesis, 53 proteins were found to be significantly up-regulated two hours after BDNF stimulation. Our study demonstrated that the newly synthesized proteome, even after a short period of stimulation, can be efficiently isolated by BONCAT and analyzed to a depth that is similar to that of the steady-state proteome.
    Journal of Proteome Research 10/2014; · 5.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Neurotrophins play a crucial role in mediating neuronal survival and synaptic plasticity. A lack of trophic factor support in the peripheral nervous system (PNS) is associated with a transcription-dependent programmed cell death process in developing sympathetic neurons. While most of the attention has been upon events culminating in cell death in the PNS, the earliest events that occur after trophic factor withdrawal in the central nervous system (CNS) have not been investigated. In the CNS, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is widely expressed and is released in an activity-dependent manner to shape the structure and function of neuronal populations. Reduced neurotrophic factor support has been proposed as a mechanism to account for changes in synaptic plasticity during neurodevelopment to aging and neurodegenerative disorders. To this end, we performed transcriptional profiling in cultured rat hippocampal neurons. We used a TrkB ligand scavenger (TrkB-FC) to sequester endogenous neurotrophic factor activity from hippocampal neurons in culture. Using a high-density microarray platform, we identified a significant decrease in genes that are associated with vesicular trafficking and synaptic function, as well as selective increases in MAP kinase phosphatases. A comparison of these changes with recent studies of Alzheimer's disease and cognitive impairment in post mortem brain tissue revealed striking similarities in gene expression changes for genes involved in synaptic function. These changes are relevant to a wide number of conditions in which levels of BDNF are compromised. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Develop Neurobiol, 2014
    Developmental Neurobiology 07/2014; · 4.42 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Although antipsychotic drugs can reduce psychotic behavior within a few hours, full efficacy is not achieved for several weeks, implying that there may be rapid, short-term changes in neuronal function, which are consolidated into long-lasting changes. We showed that the antipsychotic drug haloperidol, a dopamine receptor type 2 (D2R) antagonist, stimulated the kinase Akt to activate the mRNA translation pathway mediated by the mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1). In primary striatal D2R-positive neurons, haloperidol-mediated activation of mTORC1 resulted in increased phosphorylation of ribosomal protein S6 (S6) and eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E-binding protein (4E-BP). Proteomic mass spectrometry revealed marked changes in the pattern of protein synthesis after acute exposure of cultured striatal neurons to haloperidol, including increased abundance of cytoskeletal proteins and proteins associated with translation machinery. These proteomic changes coincided with increased morphological complexity of neurons that was diminished by inhibition of downstream effectors of mTORC1, suggesting that mTORC1-dependent translation enhances neuronal complexity in response to haloperidol. In vivo, we observed rapid morphological changes with a concomitant increase in the abundance of cytoskeletal proteins in cortical neurons of haloperidol-injected mice. These results suggest a mechanism for both the acute and long-term actions of antipsychotics.
    Science Signaling 01/2014; 7(308):ra4. · 7.65 Impact Factor
  • Katrin Deinhardt, Moses V Chao
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    ABSTRACT: The tropomyosin-related tyrosine kinase (Trk) receptors were initially described as a family of growth factor receptors required for neuronal survival. They have since been shown to influence many aspects of neuronal development and function, including differentiation, outgrowth, and synaptic plasticity. This chapter will give an overview on the biology of Trk receptors within the nervous system. The structure and downstream signaling pathways of the full-length receptors will be described, as well as the biological functions of their truncated isoforms. Finally, the role of Trk receptors in the nervous system in health and disease will be discussed.
    Handbook of experimental pharmacology 01/2014; 220:103-19.
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    ABSTRACT: A common single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the human brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) gene results in a Val66Met substitution in the BDNF prodomain region. This SNP is associated with alterations in memory and with enhanced risk to develop depression and anxiety disorders in humans. Here we show that the isolated BDNF prodomain is detected in the hippocampus and that it can be secreted from neurons in an activity-dependent manner. Using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and circular dichroism, we find that the prodomain is intrinsically disordered, and the Val66Met substitution induces structural changes. Surprisingly, application of Met66 (but not Val66) BDNF prodomain induces acute growth cone retraction and a decrease in Rac activity in hippocampal neurons. Expression of p75(NTR) and differential engagement of the Met66 prodomain to the SorCS2 receptor are required for this effect. These results identify the Met66 prodomain as a new active ligand, which modulates neuronal morphology.
    Nature Communications 09/2013; 4:2490. · 10.74 Impact Factor
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    Helen E Scharfman, Moses V Chao
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    ABSTRACT: A major problem in the field of neurodegeneration is the basis of selective vulnerability of subsets of neurons to disease. In aging, Alzheimer's disease (AD), and other disorders such as temporal lobe epilepsy, the superficial layers of the entorhinal cortex (EC) are an area of selective vulnerability. In AD, it has been suggested that the degeneration of these neurons may play a role in causing the disease because it occurs at an early stage. Therefore, it is important to define the distinctive characteristics of the EC that make this region particularly vulnerable. It has been shown that neurotrophins such as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) are critical to the maintenance of the cortical neurons in the adult brain, and specifically the EC. Here we review the circuitry, distinctive functions, and neurotrophin-dependence of the EC that are relevant to its vulnerability. We also suggest that a protein that is critical to the actions of BDNF, the ARMS/Kidins220 scaffold protein, plays an important role in neurotrophic support of the EC.
    Cognitive neuroscience 08/2013; · 2.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Abnormal glucocorticoid and neurotrophin signaling have been implicated in numerous psychiatric disorders. However, the impact of neurotrophic signaling on glucocorticoid receptor (GR)-dependent gene expression is not understood. We therefore examined the impact of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) signaling on GR transcriptional regulatory function by gene expression profiling in primary rat cortical neurons stimulated with the selective GR agonist dexamethasone (Dex) and BDNF, alone or in combination. Simultaneous treatment with BDNF and Dex elicited a unique set of GR-responsive genes associated with neuronal growth and differentiation and also enhanced the induction of a large number of Dex-sensitive genes. BDNF via its receptor TrkB enhanced the transcriptional activity of a synthetic GR reporter, suggesting a direct effect of BDNF signaling on GR function. Indeed, BDNF treatment induces the phosphorylation of GR at serine 155 (S155) and serine 287 (S287). Expression of a non-phosphorylatable mutant (GR S155A/S287A) impaired the induction of a subset of BDNF and Dex regulated genes. Mechanistically, BDNF-induced GR phosphorylation increased GR occupancy and cofactor recruitment at the promoter of a BDNF-enhanced gene. GR phosphorylation in vivo is sensitive to changes in the levels BDNF and TrkB as well as stress. Therefore, BDNF signaling specifies and amplifies the GR transcriptome through a coordinated GR phosphorylation-dependent detection mechanism.
    Molecular and Cellular Biology 07/2013; · 5.04 Impact Factor
  • Katrin Deinhardt, Moses V Chao
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    ABSTRACT: Both mature BDNF and its precursor, proBDNF, play a crucial role in shaping neurons and contributing to the structural basis for neuronal connectivity. They do so in a largely opposing manner, and through differential engagement with their receptors. In this review, we will summarise the evidence that BDNF modulates neural circuit formation in vivo both within the central and peripheral nervous systems, through the control of neuronal morphology. The underlying intracellular mechanisms that translate BDNF signalling into changes of neuronal cell shape will be described. In addition, the signalling pathways that act either locally at the site of BDNF action, or over long distances to influence gene transcription will be discussed. These mechanisms begin to explain the diversity of actions that BDNF carries out on neuronal morphology.
    Neuropharmacology 05/2013; · 4.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Excessive glucocorticoid exposure during chronic stress causes synapse loss and learning impairment. Under normal physiological conditions, glucocorticoid activity oscillates in synchrony with the circadian rhythm. Whether and how endogenous glucocorticoid oscillations modulate synaptic plasticity and learning is unknown. Here we show that circadian glucocorticoid peaks promote postsynaptic dendritic spine formation in the mouse cortex after motor skill learning, whereas troughs are required for stabilizing newly formed spines that are important for long-term memory retention. Conversely, chronic and excessive exposure to glucocorticoids eliminates learning-associated new spines and disrupts previously acquired memories. Furthermore, we show that glucocorticoids promote rapid spine formation through a non-transcriptional mechanism by means of the LIM kinase-cofilin pathway and increase spine elimination through transcriptional mechanisms involving mineralocorticoid receptor activation. Together, these findings indicate that tightly regulated circadian glucocorticoid oscillations are important for learning-dependent synaptic formation and maintenance. They also delineate a new signaling mechanism underlying these effects.
    Nature Neuroscience 04/2013; · 14.98 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The development of neuronal networks in the neocortex depends on control mechanisms for mitosis and migration that allow newborn neurons to find their accurate position. Multiple mitogens, neurotrophic factors, guidance molecules and their corresponding receptors are involved in this process, but the mechanisms by which these signals are integrated are only poorly understood. We found that TrkB and TrkC, the receptors for brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and neurotrophin-3 (NT-3), are activated by epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signaling rather than by BDNF or NT-3 in embryonic mouse cortical precursor cells. This transactivation event regulated migration of early neuronal cells to their final position in the developing cortex. Transactivation by EGF led to membrane translocation of TrkB, promoting its signaling responsiveness. Our results provide genetic evidence that TrkB and TrkC activation in early cortical neurons do not depend on BDNF and NT-3, but instead on transactivation by EGFR signaling.
    Nature Neuroscience 02/2013; · 14.98 Impact Factor
  • Moses V Chao, Pietro Calissano
    Neuron 02/2013; 77(3):385-7. · 15.77 Impact Factor
  • F Jeanneteau, M V Chao
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    ABSTRACT: One hypothesis to account for the onset and severity of neurological disorders is the loss of trophic support. Indeed, changes in the levels and activities of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) occur in numerous neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric diseases. A deficit promotes vulnerability whereas a gain of function facilitates recovery by enhancing survival, synapse formation and synaptic plasticity. Implementation of 'BDNF therapies', however, faces numerous methodological and pharmacokinetic issues. Identifying BDNF mimetics that activate the BDNF receptor or downstream targets of BDNF signaling represent an alternative approach. One mechanism that shows great promise is to study the interplay of BDNF and glucocorticoid hormones, a major class of natural steroid secreted during stress reactions and in synchrony with circadian rhythms. While small amounts of glucocorticoids support normal brain function, excess stimulation by these steroid hormones precipitates stress-related affective disorders. To date, however, because of the paucity of knowledge of underlying cellular mechanisms, deleterious effects of glucocorticoids are not prevented following extreme stress. In the present review, we will discuss the complementary roles shared by BDNF and glucocorticoids in synaptic plasticity, and delineate possible signaling mechanisms mediating these effects.
    Neuroscience 09/2012; · 3.33 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Latent herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV1) genomes in peripheral nerve ganglia periodically reactivate, initiating a gene expression program required for productive replication. Whether molecular cues detected by axons can be relayed to cell bodies and harnessed to regulate latent genome expression in neuronal nuclei is unknown. Using a neuron culture model, we found that inhibiting mTOR, depleting its regulatory subunit raptor, or inducing hypoxia all trigger reactivation. While persistent mTORC1 activation suppressed reactivation, a mutant 4E-BP (eIF4E-binding protein) translational repressor unresponsive to mTORC1 stimulated reactivation. Finally, inhibiting mTOR in axons induced reactivation. Thus, local changes in axonal mTOR signaling that control translation regulate latent HSV1 genomes in a spatially segregated compartment.
    Genes & development 07/2012; 26(14):1527-32. · 12.64 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Dendrites are the primary sites on neurons for receiving and integrating inputs from their presynaptic partners. Defects in dendrite development perturb the formation of neural circuitry and impair information processing in the brain. Extracellular cues are important for shaping the dendritic morphogenesis, but the underlying molecular mechanisms are not well understood. In this study, we examined the role of ARMS (ankyrin repeat-rich membrane spanning protein), also known as Kidins220 (kinase D-interacting substrate of 220 kDa), previously identified as a downstream target of neurotrophin and ephrin receptors, in dendrite development. We report here that knockdown of ARMS/Kidins220 by in utero electroporation impairs dendritic branching in mouse cerebral cortex, and silencing of ARMS/Kidins220 in primary rat hippocampal neurons results in a significant decrease in the length, number, and complexity of the dendritic arbors. Overexpression of cell surface receptor tyrosine kinases, including TrkB and EphB2, in ARMS/Kidins220-deficient neurons can partially rescue the defective dendritic phenotype. More importantly, we show that PI3K (phosphoinositide-3-kinase)- and Akt-mediated signaling pathway is crucial for ARMS/Kidins220-dependent dendrite development. Furthermore, loss of ARMS/Kidins220 significantly reduced the clustering of EphB2 receptor signaling complex in neurons. Our results collectively suggest that ARMS/Kidins220 is a key player in organizing the signaling complex to transduce the extracellular stimuli to cellular responses during dendrite development.
    Journal of Neuroscience 06/2012; 32(24):8263-9. · 6.75 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The neurotrophin brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and its receptor tyrosine kinase TrkB serve important regulatory roles for multiple aspects of the biology of neurons including cell death, survival, growth, differentiation, and plasticity. Regulation of the local availability of BDNF/TrkB at distinct subcellular domains such as soma, dendrites, axons, growth cones, nerve terminals, and spines appears to contribute to their specific functions. In view of the variance in size and shape of neurons and their compartments, previous quantitative studies of the BDNF/TrkB protein and mRNA lacked a robust normalization procedure. To overcome this problem, we have established methods that use immunofluorescence detection of α-tubulin as a normalization factor for the quantitative analysis of protein and mRNA in primary rat cortical and striatal neurons in culture. The efficacy of this approach is demonstrated by studying the dynamic distribution of proteins and mRNA at different growth stages or conditions. Treatment of cultured neurons with KCl resulted in increased levels of TrkB protein, reduced levels of BDNF mRNA (composite of multiple transcripts) and a slight reduction in BDNF protein levels in the dendrites from the cortex. The KCl treatment also lowered the percentage of BDNF and TrkB proteins in the soma indicative of protein transport. Finally, analysis of the rat cortical and striatal neurons demonstrated comparable or even higher levels of BDNF/TrkB protein and BDNF mRNA in the neurons from the striatum. Thus, in contrast to previous observations made in vivo, striatal neurons are capable of synthesizing BDNF mRNA when cultured in growth media in vitro. The analytical approach presented here provides a detailed understanding of BDNF/TrkB levels in response to a variety of neuronal activities. Our methods could be used broadly, including applications in cell and tissue cytometry, to yield accurate quantitative data of gene expression in cellular and subcellular contexts. © 2012 International Society for Advancement of Cytometry.
    Cytometry Part A 05/2012; 81(8):704-17. · 3.71 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Herpes simplex virus type-1 (HSV-1) establishes a life-long latent infection in peripheral neurons. This latent reservoir is the source of recurrent reactivation events that ensure transmission and contribute to clinical disease. Current antivirals do not impact the latent reservoir and there are no vaccines. While the molecular details of lytic replication are well-characterized, mechanisms controlling latency in neurons remain elusive. Our present understanding of latency is derived from in vivo studies using small animal models, which have been indispensable for defining viral gene requirements and the role of immune responses. However, it is impossible to distinguish specific effects on the virus-neuron relationship from more general consequences of infection mediated by immune or non-neuronal support cells in live animals. In addition, animal experimentation is costly, time-consuming, and limited in terms of available options for manipulating host processes. To overcome these limitations, a neuron-only system is desperately needed that reproduces the in vivo characteristics of latency and reactivation but offers the benefits of tissue culture in terms of homogeneity and accessibility. Here we present an in vitro model utilizing cultured primary sympathetic neurons from rat superior cervical ganglia (SCG) (Figure 1) to study HSV-1 latency and reactivation that fits most if not all of the desired criteria. After eliminating non-neuronal cells, near-homogeneous TrkA(+) neuron cultures are infected with HSV-1 in the presence of acyclovir (ACV) to suppress lytic replication. Following ACV removal, non-productive HSV-1 infections that faithfully exhibit accepted hallmarks of latency are efficiently established. Notably, lytic mRNAs, proteins, and infectious virus become undetectable, even in the absence of selection, but latency-associated transcript (LAT) expression persists in neuronal nuclei. Viral genomes are maintained at an average copy number of 25 per neuron and can be induced to productively replicate by interfering with PI3-Kinase / Akt signaling or the simple withdrawal of nerve growth factor(1). A recombinant HSV-1 encoding EGFP fused to the viral lytic protein Us11 provides a functional, real-time marker for replication resulting from reactivation that is readily quantified. In addition to chemical treatments, genetic methodologies such as RNA-interference or gene delivery via lentiviral vectors can be successfully applied to the system permitting mechanistic studies that are very difficult, if not impossible, in animals. In summary, the SCG-based HSV-1 latency / reactivation system provides a powerful, necessary tool to unravel the molecular mechanisms controlling HSV1 latency and reactivation in neurons, a long standing puzzle in virology whose solution may offer fresh insights into developing new therapies that target the latent herpesvirus reservoir.
    J Vis Exp. 04/2012;
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    ABSTRACT: Angelman syndrome (AS) is a human neuropsychiatric disorder associated with autism, mental retardation, motor abnormalities, and epilepsy. In most cases, AS is caused by the deletion of the maternal copy of UBE3A gene, which encodes the enzyme ubiquitin ligase E3A, also termed E6-AP. A mouse model of AS has been generated and these mice exhibit many of the observed neurological alterations in humans. Because of clinical and neuroanatomical similarities between AS and schizophrenia, we examined AS model mice for alterations in the neuregulin-ErbB4 pathway, which has been implicated in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. We focused our studies on the hippocampus, one of the major brain loci impaired in AS mice. We determined the expression of neuregulin 1 and ErbB4 receptors in AS mice and wild-type littermates (ages 10-16 weeks) and studied the effects of ErbB inhibition on long-term potentiation in hippocampal area cornu ammonis 1 and on hippocampus-dependent contextual fear memory. We observed enhanced neuregulin-ErbB4 signaling in the hippocampus of AS model mice and found that ErbB inhibitors could reverse deficits in long-term potentiation, a cellular substrate for learning and memory. In addition, we found that an ErbB inhibitor enhanced long-term contextual fear memory in AS model mice. Our findings suggest that neuregulin-ErbB4 signaling is involved in synaptic plasticity and memory impairments in AS model mice, suggesting that ErbB inhibitors have therapeutic potential for the treatment of AS.
    Biological psychiatry 02/2012; 72(3):182-90. · 8.93 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) Val66Met polymorphism is a common human single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) that affects the regulated release of BDNF, and has been implicated in affective disorders and cognitive dysfunction. A decreased activation of the infralimbic medial prefrontal cortex (IL-mPFC), a brain region critical for the regulation of affective behaviors, has been described in BDNF(Met) carriers. However, it is unclear whether and how the Val66Met polymorphism affects the IL-mPFC synapses. Here, we report that spike timing-dependent plasticity (STDP) was absent in the IL-mPFC pyramidal neurons from BDNF(Met/Met) mice, a mouse that recapitulates the specific phenotypic properties of the human BDNF Val66Met polymorphism. Also, we observed a decrease in NMDA and GABA receptor-mediated synaptic transmission in the pyramidal neurons of BDNF(Met/Met) mice. While BDNF enhanced non-NMDA receptor transmission and depressed GABA receptor transmission in the wild-type mice, both effects were absent in BDNF(Met/Met) mice after BDNF treatment. Indeed, exogenous BDNF reversed the deficits in STDP and NMDA receptor transmission in BDNF(Met/Met) neurons. BDNF-mediated selective reversal of the deficit in plasticity and NMDA receptor transmission, but its lack of effect on GABA and non-NMDA receptor transmission in BDNF(Met/Met) mice, suggests separate mechanisms of Val66Met polymorphism upon synaptic transmission. The effect of the Val66Met polymorphism on synaptic transmission and plasticity in the IL-mPFC represents a mechanism to account for this impact of SNP on affective disorders and cognitive dysfunction.
    Journal of Neuroscience 02/2012; 32(7):2410-21. · 6.75 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Herpes simplex virus type-1 (HSV-1) establishes latency in peripheral neurons, creating a permanent source of recurrent infections. The latent genome is assembled into chromatin and lytic cycle genes are silenced. Processes that orchestrate reentry into productive replication (reactivation) remain poorly understood. We have used latently infected cultures of primary superior cervical ganglion (SCG) sympathetic neurons to profile viral gene expression following a defined reactivation stimulus. Lytic genes are transcribed in two distinct phases, differing in their reliance on protein synthesis, viral DNA replication and the essential initiator protein VP16. The first phase does not require viral proteins and has the appearance of a transient, widespread de-repression of the previously silent lytic genes. This allows synthesis of viral regulatory proteins including VP16, which accumulate in the cytoplasm of the host neuron. During the second phase, VP16 and its cellular cofactor HCF-1, which is also predominantly cytoplasmic, concentrate in the nucleus where they assemble an activator complex on viral promoters. The transactivation function supplied by VP16 promotes increased viral lytic gene transcription leading to the onset of genome amplification and the production of infectious viral particles. Thus regulated localization of de novo synthesized VP16 is likely to be a critical determinant of HSV-1 reactivation in sympathetic neurons.
    PLoS Pathogens 02/2012; 8(2):e1002540. · 8.06 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

15k Citations
1,594.87 Total Impact Points


  • 2013
    • University of Wuerzburg
      • Institute of Clinical Neurobiology
      Würzburg, Bavaria, Germany
  • 1998–2013
    • New York University
      • • Department of Microbiology
      • • Department of Cell Biology
      New York City, New York, United States
  • 2012
    • The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
      • Division of Life Science
      Kowloon, Hong Kong
  • 2001–2010
    • CUNY Graduate Center
      New York City, New York, United States
  • 1988–2008
    • Cornell University
      • • Department of Psychiatry
      • • Department of Medicine
      Ithaca, NY, United States
  • 1998–2007
    • Columbia University
      • • Department of Pathology & Cell Biology
      • • Department of Biological Sciences
      New York City, NY, United States
  • 2004
    • Cancer Research UK
      Londinium, England, United Kingdom
    • Brigham and Women's Hospital
      • Department of Medicine
      Boston, MA, United States
  • 1999
    • State University of New York Downstate Medical Center
      • Program in Molecular and Cellular Biology
      Brooklyn, NY, United States
    • Weill Cornell Medical College
      New York City, New York, United States
  • 1997
    • Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
      • Division of Signal Transduction
      Boston, MA, United States