Yuntao Wu, Ph.D., 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.

Selected Publications

1.  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.

2.  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.

3.  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.

4.  Wu Y 2010.  Chemokine control of HIV-1 infection: beyond a binding competition.  Retrovirology.  7:86.

5. Wu Y, Yoder A 2009. Chemokine coreceptor signaling in HIV-1 infection and pathogenesis.  PLoS Pathog.  5(12):e1000520.

6. 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.

7. Wu Y 2009.  Chemokine receptor signaling and HIV infection.  Methods Mol Biol.  571:309-19.

8. 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.

9. Wu Y 2009.  The co-receptor signaling model of HIV-1 pathogenesis in peripheral CD4 T cells.  Retrovirology.  6:41.

10.  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.

11.   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.

12.  Wu Y 2008.  The second chance story of HIV-1 DNA: Unintegrated? Not a problem!  Retrovirology.  5:61.

13.  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.

14.  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.

15.  Wu Y, Beddall MH, Marsh JW 2007.  Rev-dependent indicator T cell line.  Curr HIV Res.  5(4):394-402.

16.  Wu Y, Beddall MH, Marsh JW 2007.  Rev-dependent lentiviral expression vector.  Retrovirology.  4:12.