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Publications of the Week

MHC Class II Transactivator CIITA Induces Cell Resistance to Ebola Virus and SARS-Like Coronaviruses

By September 17, 2020No Comments

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This week we profile a recent publication in Science from the laboratory of Dr. Adam
Lacy-Hulbert (pictured) at the Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason.

Can you provide a brief overview of your lab’s current research focus?

Our main focus is on regulation of innate immune signaling in autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus and inflammatory bowel disease. This work grew out of a new project to try to find novel mechanisms of cellular resistance to infection and/or tissue damage.

What is the significance of the findings in this publication?

There are a couple. First, we have found a new pathway of cell resistance to viruses that is broad — it works against Ebola and SARS-CoV-2. Second, we have uncovered a new role for the MHC class II transactivator (CIITA) and CD74, which are traditionally associated with antigen presentation. Third, we have validated the use of this transposon screening platform, which is novel and different for several reasons: it both activates and inactivates genes in a truly genome-wide way, so is like a combined CRISPRi/ CRISPRa screen, it is fast and inexpensive, and it can be easily applied to different cell types and organisms.

What are the next steps for this research?

We are performing more screens, including a dedicated SARS-CoV2 screen. We would also like to find ways to manipulate this pathway to help protect against SARS-CoV-2

This work was funded by:

Funding was from the NIH.

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