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Welcome to the Valente Lab!

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OVERVIEW

Human immunodeficiency virus type I (HIV-1) is the causative agent of AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). The major focus of our lab is the discovery and characterization of molecular interactions occurring within a host cell that are critical for HIV replication - the interactions so identified can be tailored to develop therapeutic targets and provide novel antiviral approaches.

Retroviruses, such as HIV, due to their limited genome size and content, require the assistance of multiple host cellular proteins at each step in their elaborate replication cycle. Host cells, in response, have evolved many mechanisms for inhibiting viral replication. We have taken a genetic approach to identify the molecular interactions occurring within a cell that are critical for viral replication, or genes that have evolved in mammalian cells to block viral replication. The discovery of cellular factors involved in retroviral replication and an increased knowledge of their mode of action may lead to important antiviral approaches in clinical settings as one could block the modified use without affecting cell viability.

We have three main scientific interests:

1. HIV-1 mRNA maturation and export
2. Inhibitors of Tat activated HIV-1 transcription
3. Host factors that inhibit viral replication

 

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