We study the replication and pathogenesis of the beta-herpesvirus called Human Herpesvirus Type 5 (HHV-5) or, more commonly, Human Cytomegalovirus (HCMV). 


Our most recent HCMV paper:

Iwahori, S., Umaña, A.C., VanDeusen, H.R., Kalejta, R.F. (2017) Human cytomegalovirus-encoded viral cyclin-dependent kinase (v-CDK) UL97 phosphorylates and inactivates the retinoblastoma protein-related p107 and p130 proteins. J Biol Chem. PMID: 28289097 link


Classic HCMV papers from our lab:

Lee, S.H., Albright, E.R., Lee, J-H., Jacobs, D., and Kalejta, R.F. (2015) Cellular defense against latent colonization foiled by human cytomegalovirus UL138 protein. Sci. Adv. 1(10):e1501164 PMCID: PMC4681346 pdf >publications 


Hume A.J., Finkel J.S., Kamil J.P., Coen D.M., Culbertson M.R., Kalejta R.F. Phosphorylation of retinoblastoma protein by viral protein with cyclin-dependent kinase function. Science. 2008 May 9; 320(5877):797-9. PMID: 18467589 pdf >publications


One of our HCMV review articles:

Penkert, R.R., and Kalejta, R. F. (2011) Tegument protein control of latent herpesvirus establishment and animation. Herpesviridae 2:3 PMCID: PMC3063196  pdf >publications


Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is a successful, widespread pathogen that infects the majority of the world's population by early adulthood.  The virus establishes a life-long infection with both a reservoir of latently infected cells, as well as persistently infected cells that intermittently shed infectious virus.  Numerous cell types become infected and virus can be found in most organ systems.  HCMV infection is responsible for approximately 8% of the cases of infectious mononucleosis, and in populations with immature or compromised immune systems, HCMV is a significant pathogen causing morbidity and mortality.  It is the leading viral cause of birth defects, where infection of neonates causes deafness and mental retardation, and is the major cause of retinitis and blindness in AIDS patients.  HCMV contributes to graft loss in bone marrow and solid organ transplants, causes disease in cancer patients receiving immunosuppressive chemotherapy, and likely contributes to ageing-associated immunosenescence.  HCMV infection is also associated with inflammatory and proliferative diseases such as certain cardiovascular diseases and some cancers.  Both primary infection and reactivation of latent infections cause HCMV disease.  There is no vaccine to prevent HCMV infection, and the currently FDA-approved drugs for the treatment of HCMV disease suffer from low bioavailability, toxicity, and the formation of resistant viruses.