Binding of USF1/2 and TFII-I (RBF-2) at conserved sites flanking the HIV-1 LTR enhancer is essential for reactivation from latency in T cells, with TFII-I knockdown rendering the provirus insensitive to T cell signaling. We identified an interaction of TFII-I with the tripartite motif protein TRIM24, and these factors were found to be constitutively associated with the HIV-1 LTR. Similar to…
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Melanoma is a malignant tumor that accounts for the deadliest form of skin cancers. Despite the significant efforts made recently for development of immunotherapeutic strategies including using immune checkpoint inhibitors and cancer vaccines, the clinical outcomes are unsatisfying. Different factors affect efficient cancer immunotherapy such as side-effects, immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment, and tumor heterogeneity. In the past decades, various nanotechnology-based approaches…
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Synaptic Activity–Dependent Changes in the Hippocampal Palmitoylome

The primary focus of Dr. Shernaz Bamji's lab at present is to determine how the addition and removal of a fatty acid lipid molecule, in a process known as ‘protein palmitoylation’, alters the function of key proteins that are involved in signaling at the synapse. They hope to better understand the critical role of palmitoylation in synaptic remodeling, and how disrupted palmitoylation contributes to numerous brain disorders, including Schizophrenia and X-linked intellectual disability.
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Spinal cord injury leads to disruption in autonomic control resulting in cardiovascular, bowel, and lower urinary tract dysfunctions, all of which significantly reduce health-related quality of life. Although spinal cord stimulation shows promise for promoting autonomic recovery, the underlying mechanisms are unclear. Based on current preclinical and clinical evidence, this narrative review provides the most plausible mechanisms underlying the effects…
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A Universal Sequencing Read Interpreter

Massively parallel DNA sequencing has led to the rapid growth of highly multiplexed experiments in biology. These experiments produce unique sequencing results that require specific analysis pipelines to decode highly structured reads. However, no versatile framework that interprets sequencing reads to extract their encoded information for downstream biological analysis has been developed. Here, we report INTERSTELLAR (interpretation, scalable transformation, and…
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Dr. Natalie Strynadka's team focuses on atomic resolution characterization and analysis of microbial targets, often membrane protein assemblies, that mediate drug resistance or are potential new targets for structure-guided antibiotic design. They used cryogenic electron microscopy to characterize the first atomic structures of a novel receptor that senses beta-lactam antibiotics in the environment, then signals through the membrane to control (via unprecedented direct proteolysis of a repressor), expression of genes underlying broad spectrum beta-lactam antibiotic resistance in drug resistant Staph aureus strains. 
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Novel therapeutics to manage bacterial infections are urgently needed as the impact and prevalence of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) grows. Antivirulence therapeutics are an alternative approach to antibiotics that aim to attenuate virulence rather than target bacterial essential functions, while minimizing microbiota perturbation and the risk of AMR development. Beyond known virulence factors, pathogen-associated genes (PAGs; genes found only in pathogens…
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Flagellin-Specific Human CAR Tregs for Immune Regulation in IBD

Dr. Megan Levings' lab works on developing regulatory T cell (Treg) based therapies to improve treatment options for autoimmune and transplant related conditions. They developed the first chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) that targets a microbial antigen and showed the potential for Tregs expressing a microbe-specific CAR to control inflammation in inflammatory bowel disease.
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Age-associated B cells (ABCs; CD19+CD11c+T-bet+) are a unique population that are increased in an array of viral infections, though their role during latent infection is largely unexplored. Here, we use murine gammaherpesvirus 68 (γHV68) to demonstrate that ABCs remain elevated long-term during latent infection and express IFNγ and TNF. Using a recombinant γHV68 that is cleared following acute infection, we…
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Cells have the remarkable ability to respond to stress. During stress conditions, the RNA and proteins in the cytoplasm, assemble and form granular structures called stress granules. The mechanism and consequence of stress granule formation are not well understood. However, defects in SG formation are associated with many diseases such as neurodegenerative diseases and cancer.
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