Making Discoveries that Make a Difference

Yuntao Wu, PhD, Professor

Research Interests

The role of cellular and, in particular, actin cytoskeletal factors in HIV-1 replication events in primary cells.

Research Program

HIV-1 subverts the immune system during pathogenic infection, resulting in a gradual depletion of CD4 T cells and a loss of immune functionality that ultimately results in Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS).  In line with this, HIV-1 has evolved a complex network of interactions with cellular proteins by which this coercion occurs.  Our research, as of the Yoder et al 2008 publication listed below, has predominantly focused on a particular subset of cellular factors, those that constitute the actin cytoskeletal system of the cell.  Our research has indicated that actin cytoskeletal dynamics is a key feature during early infection events, including reverse transcription and nuclear migration within the cell.   Our goal is to identify cytoskeletal factors that play pivotal roles in HIV-1 replication and determine the functions of these factors.  We have previously identified Cofilin, an actin-depolymerization factor, as a critical factor in early HIV-1 infection events.  Much of our research is now focusing on the upstream factors of Cofilin, those being LIMK1/2, p21-activated kinases, and certain cellular phosphatases, among others.  Emergently, our goal is to create a framework of understanding on which the development of anti-HIV pharmaceuticals can proceed.  In this endeavor, we have sought a degree of reproducibility and accuracy in our research constituting a standard of research quality to which all of our findings are subject.

View latest Wu lab findings

Selected Publications

  • Vorster PJ, Guo J, Yoder A, Wang W, Zheng Y, Xu X, Yu D, Spear M, Wu Y 2011.  LIM kinase 1 modulates cortical actin and CXCR4 cycling and is activated by HIV-1 to initiate viral infection.  J Biol Chem.  286(14):12554-64.
  • Yoder A, Guo J, Yu D, Cui Z, Zhang XE, Wu Y 2011.  Effects of microtubule modulators on HIV-1 infection of transformed and resting CD4 T cells.  J Virol.  85(6):3020-4.
  • Guo J, Enos C, Wu Y 2010.  Specific marking of HIV-1 positive cells using a Rev-dependent lentiviral vector expressing the green fluorescent protein.  J Vis Exp.  23;(43). pii: 2198.
  • Wu Y 2010.  Chemokine control of HIV-1 infection: beyond a binding competition.  Retrovirology.  7:86.
  • Wu Y, Yoder A 2009. Chemokine coreceptor signaling in HIV-1 infection and pathogenesis.  PLoS Pathog.  5(12):e1000520.
  • Yu D, Wang W, Yoder A, Spear M, Wu Y 2009.  The HIV envelope but not VSV glycoprotein is capable of mediating HIV latent infection of resting CD4 T cells.  PLoS Pathog.  5(10):e1000633.
  • Wu Y 2009.  Chemokine receptor signaling and HIV infection.  Methods Mol Biol.  571:309-19.
  • Iyer SR, Yu D, Biancotto A, Margolis LB, Wu Y 2009.  Measurement of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 preintegration transcription by using Rev-dependent Rev-CEM cells reveals a sizable transcribing DNA population comparable to that from proviral templates.  J Virol.  83(17):8662-73.
  • Wu Y 2009.  The co-receptor signaling model of HIV-1 pathogenesis in peripheral CD4 T cells.  Retrovirology.  6:41.
  • Wu Y, Yoder A, Yu D, Wang W, Liu J, Barrett T, Wheeler D, Schlauch K 2008.  Cofilin activation in peripheral CD4 T cells of HIV-1 infected patients: a pilot study.  Retrovirology.  5:95.
  • Yoder A, Yu D, Dong L, Iyer SR, Xu X, Kelly J, Liu J, Wang W, Vorster PJ, Agulto L, Stephany DA, Cooper JN, Marsh JW, Wu Y 2008.  HIV envelope-CXCR4 signaling activates cofilin to overcome cortical actin restriction in resting CD4 T cells.  Cell.  134(5):782-92.
  • Wu Y 2008.  The second chance story of HIV-1 DNA: Unintegrated? Not a problem!  Retrovirology.  5:61.
  • Young J, Tang Z, Yu Q, Yu D, Wu Y 2008.  Selective killing of HIV-1-positive macrophages and T cells by the Rev-dependent lentivirus carrying anthrolysin O from Bacillus anthracis.  Retrovirology.  5:36.
  • Kelly J, Beddall MH, Yu D, Iyer SR, Marsh JW, Wu Y 2008.  Human macrophages support persistent transcription from unintegrated HIV-1 DNA.  Virology.  372(2):300-12.
  • Wu Y, Beddall MH, Marsh JW 2007.  Rev-dependent indicator T cell line.  Curr HIV Res.  5(4):394-402.
  • Wu Y, Beddall MH, Marsh JW 2007.  Rev-dependent lentiviral expression vector.  Retrovirology.  4:12.
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