The non-structural protein (nsP3) of CHIKV co-localizes with the sphingosine kinase 2 (SK2). Cells contain a GFP-tagged nsP3 and were stained for SK2 (red) or nuclei (blue)
Research projects in the Reid laboratory focuses primarily on two emerging viral pathogens: Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) and Ebola virus (EBOV). In addition to CHIKV and EBOV, the Reid laboratory also studies other emerging flaviviruses and alphaviruses, including Zika virus and Mayaro virus respectively. The overall goal of our research efforts is to better understand the molecular mechanisms underlying pathogenesis in order to design more effective therapeutic countermeasures. In order to achieve this goal we focus on elucidating host-pathogen interactions.
Chikungunya Virus (CHIKV)
CHIKV is an emerging alphavirus responsible for causing a disease characterized by devastating arthralgia and arthritis. Several studies are underway to better understand viral pathogenesis. Previously we identified through a siRNA host kinome screen that the lipid kinase, sphingosine kinase 2 (SK2) is an essential host factor for CHIKV replication. Future studies are aimed at determining the precise role the kinase plays during CHIKV infection. Additionally, studies are underway to explore the development and use of SK2 inhibitors as novel host-based anti-CHIKV therapeutics. Efforts are also underway to develop more effective infection models to better understand viral induced arthritis. Finally, studies are also underway to better understand viral induced arthritis utilizing clinical samples.
Ebola Virus (EBOV)
EBOV is a viral pathogen responsible for sporadic outbreaks in parts of Africa that can result in extremely high case fatality rates, as evidenced by the West African outbreak of 2013-2016 which resulted in a case fatality rate of ~70%. Previously, we have identified host factors such as Karyopherin alpha 1 and HSPA5 that the virus targets during infection. Current studies in the Reid laboratory are aimed at identifying additional host factors Co-opted by the virus during the course infection. Additionally, efforts are underway to develop novel assay systems to screen for novel EBOV antivirals.
Enterovirus Research studies the biology of human enteroviruses, which are a genus of viruses that can cause illness in humans ranging from minor colds to acute cases of myocarditis, meningitis, pancreatitis, and paralysis. Our emeritus faculty member, Steve Tracy, has continued to be productive in this area. Focusing on other diseases such as diabetes that may be linked to enteroviruses. His recent publication in Scientific American describes this concept in more detail. (Drescher and Tracy, 2018)
Steven Carson, Ph.D.
My interest in tissue factor and the initiation of blood coagulation began with my post-doctoral work at Yale Medical School (Carson and Konigsberg, 1980). I remain interested in blood coagulation, but most of my current research is focused on group B coxsackieviruses and their receptor(s) (Carson, Chapman, and Tracy, 1997; Carson, Chapman, Hafenstein, and Tracy, 2011) The group B coxsackieviruses can cause serious infections of the heart (myocarditis), pancreas (pancreatitis, and possibly diabetes), and brain (encephalitis), and can be particularly dangerous in babies. The medical significance and current research on these viral infections are described at the Enterovirus Research website at The University of Nebraska Medical Center and in Volume 323 of Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology; Tracy, Oberste, Drescher, ed., Springer-Verlag, Berlin 2008. My current research investigates molecules that bind group B coxsackieviruses, their effects on virus viability, and how they alter the interaction of the viruses with the CAR (coxsackievirus and adenovirus receptor) and with cells (Organtini et al, 2014 and Carson, 2014). I am increasingly curious about selective pressures that drive these viruses to bind molecules other than the CAR (Carson, Chapman, Hafenstein, and Tracy, 2011).