Sara Cherry, Ph.D.

faculty photo
Associate Professor of Microbiology
Department: Microbiology

Contact information
University of Pennsylvania
Department of Microbiology
304K Lynch Laboratories
433 South University Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Office: 215-746-2384
Fax: 215-746-6697
B.S. (Chemistry)
U.C. Berkeley, 1994.
Ph.D. (Biology)
MIT, 2000.
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Description of Research Expertise

Research Interests
Genetic and mechanistic studies of viral-host interactions.

Key words: virus, genomics, RNAi, genetics, Drosophila, innate, immunity.

Description of Research
Research in the Cherry lab is aimed at identifying cellular factors that regulate viral pathogenesis, including both those factors hijacked by viruses for replication and those innate anti-viral mechanisms used by the host to combat the invader. To identify these factors we are taking a genetic approach by screening for factors that impact viral replication. To this end, we are using the model genetic organism Drosophila. This allows us to use a wide-variety of techniques to identify these genes including both high-throughput RNA interference screens in cell culture, and forward genetic screens in animals. Moreover, we are also screening for host factors in human cells using high-throughput RNA interference screening technologies. We are using these approaches to study a number of arthropod-borne RNA viruses, including the flavivirus West Nile virus, the alphavirus Sindbis and the bunyavirus Rift Valley Fever virus. These are the three major families of viruses that are important human pathogens transmitted by mosquitoes to humans. By screening in both hosts- insect and human- we hope to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the host factor requirements of these pathogens. We are currently characterizing the roles of candidate genes already uncovered by using molecular biological and cell biological techniques and have discovered factors involved in viral replication and innate immunity. By combining these methodologies, and using a variety of viruses, we hope to gain a comprehensive understanding of the interplay between the host and pathogen in a complex and dynamic setting. Taking advantage of forward genetics and functional genomics in will allow us to use these unbiased and global methodologies to identify many important and novel host factors that modulate virus-host interactions. Moreover, the more viral-host pairs that we study, the better our understanding of pathways and processes essential to pathogens, and the more equipped we will be to develop anti-viral treatments.

Rotation Projects:
Depending on the interests of the student, there are many possible projects in the areas of viral-host interactions and innate immunity. Students are encouraged to contact Dr. Cherry directly.

Lab personnel:
Terri Moser- CAMB Ph. D. Student
Leah Sabin- CAMB Ph. D. Student
Kaycie Hopkins - IGG Ph. D. Student
Jie Xu- CAMB M.D./Ph. D. Student
Patrick Rose- Postdoctoral Fellow
Sheri Hanna- Postdoctoral Fellow
Tariq Maqbool- Postdoctoral Fellow
Shelly Bambina- Research Technician
Maggie Nakamoto- Research Technician
Tracy Nguyen- Undergraduate Researcher
Luke Swaszek- Undergraduate Researcher
Kendrick Chow- Undergraduate Researcher
Stephanie Kim- Undergraduate Researcher
Veronica Schad- Undergraduate Researcher

Selected Publications

Moy Ryan H, Gold Beth, Molleston Jerome M, Schad Veronica, Yanger Kilangsungla, Salzano Mary-Virginia, Yagi Yoshimasa, Fitzgerald Katherine A, Stanger Ben Z, Soldan Samantha S, Cherry Sara: Antiviral autophagy restrictsRift Valley fever virus infection and is conserved from flies to mammals. Immunity 40(1): 51-65, Jan 2014.

Yasunaga Ari, Hanna Sheri L, Li Jianqing, Cho Hyelim, Rose Patrick P, Spiridigliozzi Anna, Gold Beth, Diamond Michael S, Cherry Sara: Genome-wide RNAi screen identifies broadly-acting host factors that inhibit arbovirus infection. PLoS pathogens 10(2): e1003914, Feb 2014.

Xu Jie, Hopkins Kaycie, Sabin Leah, Yasunaga Ari, Subramanian Harry, Lamborn Ian, Gordesky-Gold Beth, Cherry Sara: ERK signaling couples nutrient status to antiviral defense in the insect gut. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 110(37): 15025-30, Sep 2013.

Hopkins Kaycie C, McLane Laura M, Maqbool Tariq, Panda Debasis, Gordesky-Gold Beth, Cherry Sara: A genome-wide RNAi screen reveals that mRNA decapping restricts bunyaviral replication by limiting the pools of Dcp2-accessible targets for cap-snatching. Genes & development 27(13): 1511-25, Jul 2013.

Nakamoto, M., Moy, R., Xu, J., Bambina, S., Yasunaga, A., Shelly, S., Gold, B., and Cherry S.: Virus recognition by Toll-7 activates antiviral autophagy in Drosophila. Immunity(In Press), 2012.

Moser Theresa S, Schieffer Daniel, Cherry Sara: AMP-activated kinase restricts Rift Valley fever virus infection by inhibiting fatty acid synthesis. PLoS pathogens 8(4): e1002661, 2012.

Xu Jie, Grant Gregory, Sabin Leah R, Gordesky-Gold Beth, Yasunaga Ari, Tudor Mathew, Cherry Sara: Transcriptional pausing controls a rapid antiviral innate immune response in Drosophila. Cell host & microbe 12(4): 531-43, Oct 2012.

Rose Patrick P, Hanna Sheri L, Spiridigliozzi Anna, Wannissorn Nattha, Beiting Daniel P, Ross Susan R, Hardy Richard W, Bambina Shelly A, Heise Mark T, Cherry Sara: Natural resistance-associated macrophage protein is a cellular receptor for sindbis virus in both insect and mammalian hosts. Cell host & microbe 10(2): 97-104, Aug 2011.

Shelly Spencer, Lukinova Nina, Bambina Shelly, Berman Allison, Cherry Sara: Autophagy is an essential component of Drosophila immunity against vesicular stomatitis virus. Immunity 30(4): 588-98, Apr 2009.

Sabin Leah R, Zhou Rui, Gruber Joshua J, Lukinova Nina, Bambina Shelly, Berman Allison, Lau Chi-Kong, Thompson Craig B, Cherry Sara: Ars2 regulates both miRNA- and siRNA- dependent silencing and suppresses RNA virus infection in Drosophila. Cell 138(2): 340-51, Jul 2009.

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Last updated: 08/12/2015
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