Lurie Cancer Center Member
Thomas Hope, PhD
Professor, Cell and Molecular Biology; Feinberg School of Medicine
Cancer Cell Biology
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Dr. Hope's group is focusing on the study of the cell biology of HIV. HIV can influence cancer both by weakening the immune system and direct involvement in cell transformation. Patients with AIDS are more susceptible to cancers including some with a direct viral etiology. Overall, the work in Dr. Hope's laboratory is directed at understanding basic HIV replication that may result in new therapies directed at HIV replication that could reduce the incidence of HIV-associated cancers. Work in Dr. Hope's laboratory determined the mechanism of the stimulation of HIV infectivity by dendritic cells through the process of trans-infection. This analysis defined the infectious synapse, which is formed at the site of contact between the dendritic cells and target cells and has some similarities with the infectious synapse. The concentration of HIV from the dendritic cells with receptors on the target cells at the site of contact facilitates infection. This appears to be a common mechanism for the stimulation of infectivity by dendritic cells by a number of viral and bacterial pathogens. Recent studies published in PNAS provided important insights into the function of the endogenous antiretroviral factor TRIM5alpha. These studies revealed that TRIM5alpha restricts HIV infection in two steps, one that involved proteasome function. Subsequent studies demonstrate that the same is true of the restriction of infection of the potentially oncogenic mouse retroviruses by human TRIM5alpha. Other studies focus on defining the dynamic in teractions of HIV with its receptor and coreceptor on the cell surface. Overall, Dr. Hope's studies provide important insights into the retroviral lifecycle and the dynamic interplay between the virus and cells. These results defined with HIV can also be applied to the human T cell leukemia virus (HTLV) and other oncogenic viruses.