Our lab focuses on the reverse transcriptase (RT) of HIV-1 in regard to each of basic mechanisms of action, inhibition by anti-viral drugs and drug resistance, and gene therapy.
We have been instrumental in demonstrating, together with colleagues, specific interactions among each of viral genomic RNA, reverse transcriptase, and tRNALys.3 primer molecules that act jointly to promote RT activity. We have constructed a series of mutations within viral genomic RNA that adversely affect viral RT activity. In some cases, substitution of alternate sequences within the primer binding site (PBS) of HIV RNA can lead to utilization of alternate tRNA molecules as primers of RT.
Our lab has also studied a variety of drugs that antagonize both HIV RT activity and viral replication.