Peter Palese

Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai


Election Year: 2000
Primary Section: 44, Microbial Biology
Secondary Section: 43, Immunology and Inflammation
Membership Type: Member

Research Interests

As a virologist I have been interested in the replication of RNA-containing viruses. Special emphasis has been on the influenza viruses, which are negative-strand RNA viruses. My laboratory established the first genetic maps for influenza A, B, and C viruses, identifying the genes coding for specific viral proteins. A long-standing interest has also been the genetic analysis of influenza viruses in order to determine the functions of the genes and gene products. We were first to define the function of the neuraminidase gene and to determine the mechanism of action of neuraminidase inhibitors in the cell; two new FDA-approved antiviral drugs are based on this principle. Another major goal of the laboratory was the development of reverse genetics techniques for negative-strand RNA viruses, which allowed the genetic engineering of these viruses. Such techniques have made it possible to do much more detailed structure-function studies of specific viral genes. In the near future genetically engineered negative-strand RNA viruses may be used as vaccines and/or vaccine vectors in humans and animals. Current efforts in the laboratory are directed at understanding viral pathogenicity and virus-host interactions; specifically, we want to understand the trafficking mechanisms of viral components in the cell and how viruses counteract the antiviral strategies of the infected host cell.

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