|Penn's Dr. James C. Alwine
will give Khoury Lecture.
A successful viral infection requires that normal cellular functions
undergo major adaptations. For example, the cell's nutrient supply,
metabolism and oxygen supply and utilization must increase, whereas
stress responses and apoptosis must be inhibited. It is to the
virus's advantage to target master cellular regulators that may
adapt several of these processes simultaneously.
This year's George Khoury Lecture will be delivered by Dr. James
C. Alwine, cancer biology professor at the University of Pennsylvania
School of Medicine and associate director, Abramson Cancer Center
in Philadelphia. He will present his talk, "How DNA Viruses Deal
with Stress," on Wednesday, Nov. 16 at 3 p.m. in Masur Auditorium,
Alwine's research has focused on how DNA viral infections deal
with the consequences of inducing cellular stress responses. His
work has shown that the viruses, especially human cytomegalovirus
(HCMV), induce mechanisms that circumvent the inhibitory effects
of the stress responses. During infection by HCMV and simian virus
40 (SV40), cellular stress responses are triggered due to the stress
of the viral infection — for example, the greatly increased
metabolic and synthetic rates needed to produce new virions. The
stress responses may be induced due to nutrient deprivation, hypoxia
or the induction of the unfolded protein response (UPR), a form
of endoplasmic reticulum stress.
Alwine and his colleagues have shown that during infections with
SV40 and especially with HCMV, the activities of cellular kinases
such as PI3K/Akt, mTOR and the signaling pathways of the UPR are
significantly altered to the advantage of the virus. This results
in the inhibition of apoptosis and the maintenance of both global
and cap-dependent translation even under conditions where stress
responses are trying to inhibit them.
Alwine received his B.S. in chemistry from Elizabethtown College
in 1969 and his Ph.D. in biological chemistry from Pennsylvania
State University in 1974. His thesis work was done with Charles
Hill working on herpes simplex virus genome structure and transcription.
He then moved to the laboratory of George Stark in the biochemistry
department of Stanford University where he began what would become
a career-long fascination with SV40. During this period he also
developed a technique for blotting and analyzing RNA which he named
In 1977, Alwine joined George Khoury's laboratory at NIH as a
staff fellow and continued his work on SV40. In 1980, he accepted
an assistant professorship at the University of Pennsylvania School
of Medicine. Alwine has continued his work with SV40 and has also
returned to his studies of herpes viruses utilizing HCMV. At Penn,
he has served as interim chair of microbiology; program director
for the tumor virology program of the Abramson Cancer Center; director
of the microbiology and virology program of the cell and molecular
biology graduate group; and chairman of the cell and molecular
biology graduate group.
Alwine has been the mentor for 16 Ph.D. students and 10 postdoctoral
researchers; in 1997, he was honored with the Dean's Award for
Excellence in Graduate Student Teaching. Outside of Penn, he served
as editor of Molecular and Cellular Biology for 10 years
and on the editorial boards of several journals including the Journal
of Virology. He has been a member of several NIH study sections
and review groups. In 1994, he was elected a fellow of the American
Academy of Microbiology.
The annual Khoury Lecture is part of the NIH Director's Wednesday
Afternoon Lecture Series. For more information or for reasonable
accommodation, call Hilda Madine, (301) 594-5595 or email hmadine@.nih.gov.