Thomas M. Petro, PhD



Department of Oral Biology
Nebraska Center for Virology
Bioregulation Group

Contact Information

Room 1467, UNMC College of Dentistry
4000 East Campus Loop South
Lincoln, NE 68583-0740


Teaching Responsibilities

Research Interests


Selected Publications 
  • Petro TM, Agarkova IV, Esmael A, Dunigan DD, Van Etten JL, Pattee GL. Chlorovirus ATCV-1 Accelerates Motor Deterioration in SOD1-G93A Transgenic Mice and Its SOD1 Augments Induction of Inflammatory Factors From Murine Macrophages. Front Neurol. 13:821166, 2022. PMID: 35280283.
  • Freed SM, Baldi DS, Snow JA, Athen SR, Guinn ZP, Pinkerton TS, Petro TM, Moore TC. MEK/ERK MAP kinase limits poly I:C-induced antiviral gene expression in RAW264.7 macrophages by reducing interferon-beta expression. FEBS Lett. 595(21):2665-2674, 2021. PMID: 34591979.
  • Lingel A, Lin H, Gavriel Y, Weaver E, Polepole P, Lopez V, Lei Y, Petro TM, Solomon B, Zhang C, Zhang L. Amyloid precursor protein is a restriction factor that protects against Zika virus infection in mammalian brains. J Biol Chem. 295(50):17114-17127 2020. PMID: 33028637.
  • Petro TM.  IFN Regulatory Factor 3 in Health and Disease. J Immunol. 205(8):1981-1989 2020. PMID: 33020188.
  • Polepole P, Bartenslager A, Liu Y, Petro TM, Fernando S, Zhang L. Epstein-Barr virus-immortalized B lymphocytes exacerbate experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis in xenograft mice. J Med Virol. 93(6):3813-3823, 2021. PMID: 32543727.
  • Annamalai AS, Pattnaik A, Sahoo BR, Guinn ZP, Bullard BL, Weaver EA, Steffen D, Natarajan SK, Petro TM, Pattnaik AK. An Attenuated Zika Virus Encoding Non-Glycosylated Envelope (E) and Non-Structural Protein 1 (NS1) Confers Complete Protection against Lethal Challenge in a Mouse Model. Vaccines (Basel). Sep 12;7(3):112, 2019. PMID: 31547297.
  • Guinn ZP, Petro TM. Interferon regulatory factor 3 plays a role in macrophage responses to interferon-γ. Immunobiology. 224(4):565-574, 2019. PMID: 31072630.
  • Guinn ZP, Petro TM. IFN-γ synergism with poly I:C reduces growth of murine and human cancer cells with simultaneous changes in cell cycle and immune checkpoint proteins. Cancer Lett. 438:1-9, 2018 PMID: 30205169.
  • Annamalai, A.S., Pattnaik, A., Sahoo, B.R., Muthukrishnan, E., Natarajan, S.K., Steffen, D., Vu, H.L.X., Delhon, G., Osorio, F.A., Petro, T.M., Xiang, S.H., and Pattnaik, A.K.  Zika virus encoding non-glycosylated envelope protein is attenuated and defective in neuroinvasion. Journal of Virology JVI.01348-17, 2017.
  • Guinn, Z., Brown, D.M., Petro, T.M. Activation of IRF3 contributes to IFN-γ and ISG54 expression during the immune responses to B16F10 tumor growth. International Immunopharmacol 50:121-129, 2017. 
  • Petro, MS, Agarkova, I.V., Petro T.M. Effect of Chlorovirus ATCV-1 infection on behavior of C57Bl/6 mice. J Neuroimmunol 15, 97:46-55, 2016 Aug.
  • Guinn Z, Lampe AT, Brown DM, Petro TM. Significant role for IRF3 in both T cell and APC effector functions during T cell responses. Cell Immunol 2016 Dec, 310:141-149.
  • Petro, T.M., Agarkova, I.V., Zhou,Y., Yolken, R.H., Van Etten, J.L., Dunigan, D.D. Response of mammalian macrophages to challenge with the Chlorovirus ATCV-1. J of Virol 89(23):12096-107. 2015.
  • Hargarten, J.C., Moore, T.C., Petro, T.M., Nickerson, K.W., Atkin, A.L. Candida albicans quorum sensing molecules stimulate mouse macrophage migration. Infect Immun 83(10):3857-64, 2015.
  • Moore T.C., Vogel A.J., Petro, T.M., Brown, D.M. IRF3 deficiency impacts granzyme B expression and maintenance of memory T cell function in response to viral infection. Microbes Infect 17(6):426-39, 2015..
  • Moore, T.C., Kumm, P.M., Brown, D.M., and Petro, T.M. Interferon response factor 3 is crucial to poly-I:C induced NK cell activity and control of B16 melanoma growth. Cancer Lett 2014 Apr 28, 346(1):122-8.
  • Moore, T.C., Cody, L., Kumm, P.M., Brown, D.M., and Petro, T.M. IRF3 helps control acute TMEV infection through IL-6 expression but contributes to acute hippocampus damage following TMEV infection. Virus Res 178(2):226-33, 2013.
  • Moore, T.C. and Petro, T.M. IRF3 and ERK MAP-kinases control nitric oxide production from macrophages in response to poly-I:C. FEBS Lett 587(18):3014-20, 2013.
  • Moore, T.C., Bush, K.L., Cody, L., Brown, D.M., Petro, T.M. Control of early Theiler's murine encephalomyelitis virus replication in macrophages by interleukin-6 occurs in conjunction with STAT1 activation and nitric oxide production. J Virol 86(19):10841-51, 2012.
  • Moore, T.C., Al-Salleeh, F.M., Brown, D.M., and Petro, T.M. IRF3 polymorphisms induce different innate anti-Theiler’s virus immune responses in RAW264.7 macrophages. Virology 418(1):40-8, 2011. 
  • Petro, T.M. Regulatory role of resveratrol on Th17 in autoimmune disease,  International immunopharmacology 11(3):310-8, 2011.
  • Ghosh, S., Howe, N., Volk, K., Tati, S. Nickerson, K.W., Petro, T.M. Candida albicans through beta-glucan and farnesol stimulates expression of Th17-inducing, inflammatory, and regulatory cytokines in the murine RAW264.7 macrophage cell line. FEMS Immunology and Medical Microbiology 60:63-73, 2010.
  • Ghosh, S., Navarathna, D.H., Roberts, D.D., Cooper, J.T., Atkin, A.L., Petro, T.M., Nickerson, K.W. Arginine-induced germ tube formation in Candida albicans is essential for escape from murine macrophage line RAW 264.7. Infect Immun 77(4):1596-605, 2009.
  • Imler, T.J. and Petro, T.M. Decreased Severity of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis during resveratrol administration is associated with increased IL-17+IL10+ T cells, CD4- IFN-γ+ cells, and decreased macrophage IL-6 expression. International Immunopharmacology 9(1):134-43. 2009.
  • Al-Salleeh, F.M. and Petro, T.M. Promoter analysis reveals critical roles for IRF-3, SMAD-3 and ATF-2 in expression of IL-23 p19 in RAW264.7 cells. J. Immunol 181:4523-4533, 2008.
  • Al-Salleeh, F., Beatty, M.W., Reinhardt, R.A., Petro, T.M., Crouch, L. Human osteogenic protein-1 induces osteogenic differentiation of adipose-derived stem cells harvested from mice. Arch Oral Biol 53:928-936 2008.
  • Al-Salleeh, F.M. and Petro,T.M. TLR3 and TLR7 are involved in expression of IL-23 subunits while TLR3 but not TLR7 is involved in expression of IFN-beta by Theiler's virus-infected RAW264.7 cells. Microbes and Infection 9(11):1384-92, 2007.
  • Hause, L., Al-Salleeh, F.M. and Petro, T.M. Expression of IL-27 p28 by Theiler's virus-infected macrophages depends on TLR3 and TLR7 activation of JNK-MAP-kinases. Antiviral Research 76(2):159-167, 2007.
  • Navarathna, DH, Nickerson, KW, Duhamel, GE, Jerrels, TR, Petro, TM. Exogenous farnesol interferes with the normal progression of cytokine expression during candidiasis in a mouse model. Infect Immun 75(8):4006-11, 2007.
  • Kollet, J.I. and Petro, T.M. IRF-1 and NF-β p50/cRel bind to distinct regions of the proximal murine IL-12 p35 promoter during costimulation with IFN- â and LPS. Molecular Immunology 43:623-633, 2006.
  • Dahlberg, A., Auble, M.R., and Petro, T.M. Reduced expression of IL-12 p35 by SJL/J macrophages responding to Theiler's virus infection is associated with constitutive activation of IRF-3. Virology. 353:422-432, 2006.
  • Petro, T.M. ERK-MAP-kinases differentially regulate expression of IL-23 p19 compared with p40 and IFN-beta in Theiler's virus-infected RAW264.7 cells. Immunol Lett 15:97(1):47-53, Feb 2005.
  • Petro, T.M. Disparate expression of IL-12 by SJL/J and B10.S macrophages during Theiler's virus infection is associated with activity of TLR7 and Mitogen-activated protein kinases. Microbes and Infection 7:224-232, 2005.
  • Petro, T.M. Modulation of IL-12 p35 and p40 promoter activity by smokeless tobacco extract is associated with an effect upon activation of NF-kB but not IRF transcription factors. International Immunopharmacology 3:735-745, 2003.
  • Vaidyanathan, H., Zhou, Y., Petro, T.M., and Schwartzbach, S.D. Intracellular localization of the p35 subunit of murine IL-12. Cytokine 21:120-128, 2003.
  • Petro, T.M., Anderson, L.L., Gowler, J.S., Liu, X., and Schwartzbach, S.D. Smokeless tobacco extract decreases IL-12 production from LPS-stimulated but decreases IL-12 from IFN-gamma-stimulated macrophages. International Immunopharmacology 2:345-355, 2002.
  • Vaidyanathan, H., Gentry, J.D., Weatherman, A., Schwartzbach, S.D. and Petro, T.M. Differential response of the murine IL-12 p35 gene to lipopolysaccharide compared with interferon-gamma and CD40 ligation. Cytokine 16:1-9, 2001.
  • Kollet, J., Witek, C., Gentry, J.D., Liu, X., Schwartzbach, S.D., and Petro, T.M. Deletional analysis of the murine IL-12 p35 promoter comparing interferon-ã and LPS stimulation. J Immunol 167:5653-5663, 2001.
  • Jana, M., Liu, X., Koka, S., Ghosh, S., Petro, T.M., and Pahan, K. Ligation of CD40 stimulates the induction of nitric oxide synthase in microglial cells. J Biol Chem 276:44527-44533, 2001.
  • Pahan, K., Sheikh, F.G., Liu, X., Hilger, S., McKinney, M., and Petro, T.M. Induction of nitric oxide synthase and activation of NF-kB by interleukin-12 p40 in microglial cells. J Biol Chem 276:7899-7905, 2001.