My research focuses on elucidating the role of Serine incorporator 5 (SERINC5); a plasma membrane protein in restricting retrovirus infection in vivo.
In addition to its primary role in sphingolipid and phosphatidylserine synthesis, it was recently shown that SERINC5 acts as a restriction factor to a variety of retroviruses such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), murine leukemia virus (MLV) and equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV). SERINC5 incorporation inside the budding virions prevents virion envelope fusion and pore formation with the plasma membrane of the target cell. Previous studies have shown that the HIV Nef (negative effector) protein and the MLV protein gGag (glycoGag) counteract SERINC5-mediated retrovirus restriction by removing it from plasma membrane. Although the function of SERINC5 in vitro is well studied, the role of this protein in vivo has not been elucidated.
I am interested to examine the SERINC5-Nef/gGag interaction and its role in retrovirus infection in vivo. The findings of my work will be instrumental for the development of therapeutics that employ new strategies to counteract HIV infections.
Uddhav Timilsina, PhD
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