My research focuses on following the route of maturing human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) virions as they exit host cells. We have begun to purify and characterize virion envelopment and egress vesicles (VEEVs), a critical stage in HCMV replication, to identify the origin of membranes used in the process of secondary envelopment. We also study the role of host secretory pathways in the assembly and egress of nascent virions. By controlling the functions of Rab GTPase regulatory proteins, we are able to induce vesicular trafficking perturbations in potentially important pathways. Identification of critical controls points in virion exocytosis will allow us to construct a road map of HCMV egress and provide new targets for antiviral therapeutics.
Philip Pellett, Ph.D.