Jeffrey Wilusz, Ph.D. ('14)

(Speaker Term: 7/1/12 - 6/30/14)
Department of Microbiology, Immunology & Pathology
1682 Campus Delivery
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO  80525   

Phone: 970-491-0652
Fax: 970-491-1815

Speaker’s URL:

How Viruses Interface with the Cellular RNA Decay Machinery to Promote a Productive Infection
The cellular RNA decay machinery plays a large role in the cell in terms of regulating gene expression as well as removing defective or unwanted transcripts.  Since viral mRNAs are surely “unwanted,” why this machinery simply doesn’t rapidly destroy them is unclear.  Recent work from the lab has identified the strategy that several viruses use to avoid destruction of their RNAs during infection and has revealed potential novel avenues for the development of antiviral therapeutics. 

There’s More to mRNA Polyadenylation than Meets the Eye – A Novel Role for the Oncoprotein Nucleophosmin
Polyadenylation and the poly(A) tail are involved in a multitude of cellular processes, including mRNA export, translation and RNA stability.  It’s unclear how a simple stretch of adenylates can perform such a diverse array of functions.  We have identified a protein “mark” that is deposited on the 3’ UTR of mRNAs as a direct result of the polyadenylation event.  The proteins in the “mark” play roles in determining poly(A) size and mRNA export.

Don’t Kill the Messenger: RNA Stability as a Key Regulator of Gene Expression from Bacteria to Mammals
mRNA stability plays a major role in both the quantity of gene expression and the quality of gene expression.  However, its importance is often overlooked.  This lecture emphasizes the interesting conservation of general mRNA decay strategies across kingdoms.  Several cutting-edge examples of how regulated RNA decay influences key processes such as innate immunity and development are highlighted.  


Jeffrey Wilusz received his Ph.D. in molecular virology from Duke University, did postdoctoral training at Princeton University and is currently a Professor in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology at Colorado State University.  His research interests include the interface between RNA viruses and the cellular RNA decay machinery as well as regulation of cellular gene expression at the post-transcriptional level.  He has been a Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences and was elected as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2008.  He serves on a variety of editorial boards, including Editor-in-Chief of the new journal Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews–RNA


CV is available by request from at ASM Headquarters


Primary Division:       X (Molecular, Cellular & General Biology of Eukaryotes)

Secondary Division:   T (RNA Viruses)