Penn Center for AIDS Research

Virology / Pathogenesis

Leader: Beatrice Hahn, M.D.
Co-Leader: Robert Doms, M.D., Ph.D.

Members of the Pathogenesis Group have been active participants in HIV research for over a decade, and have contributed extensively to our understanding of virus-cell interactions, particularly entry and cellular tropism. Particular areas of active research are the role of cellular receptors in the interactions between HIV and primary cells, and the structural basis for the binding of HIV glycoproteins, particularly gp120, to CD4 and chemokine receptors. Other studies investigate the role of HIV accessory genes in viral replication in different host cells, and the functional analysis of those accessory proteins. The mechanisms underlying viral entry and pathogenesis in other viruses represent an area of long-standing interest in the virology community at the University of Pennsylvania, CHOP, and the Wistar Institute. Penn scientists have identified receptors for Rous Sarcoma virus and Mouse Mammary Tumor virus, and have played an important role in identifying viral glycoproteins that bind to the recently identified HSV-1 and HSV-2 receptors. In addition, work by Penn scientists has advanced our understanding of virus-membrane fusion reactions for bunyaviruses, cornaviruses, retroviruses, poxviruses, orthomyxoviruses, and herpesviruses by identifying viral fusion proteins and examining the events that trigger membrane fusion-inducing conformational changes, such as acid pH.