HMS Virology

Virology Faculty Member - James Cunningham

James Cunningham

Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital
(Department of Microbiology/Molecular Genetics, Harvard Medical School)

Brigham and Women's Hospital
Harvard Institute of Medicine room 736
4 Blackfan Circle
Boston, MA 02115
Tel: 617-525-4923
Fax: 617-525-4986

The long-term goal of this laboratory is to understand the mechanism of infection by enveloped viruses. Previously, we have identified receptors for several retroviruses and investigated how these proteins activate the virus entry machinery. Recently, we discovered that endosomal cysteine proteases are essential host factors for Ebola virus infection. The roles of these proteases in spread and pathogenesis of Ebola and other hemorrhagic fever viruses are now being investigated. Also, specific inhibitors of these proteases are being developed as anti-Ebola virus drugs.

Last Update: 9/11/2018


Yang YL, Guo L, Xu S, Holland CA, Kitamura T, Hunter K, Cunningham, JM. The receptors for polytropic and xenotropic murine leukemia viruses are encoded by a single gene that maps to Rmc1. Nat Genet 1999;21:2106-9.

Mothes W, Boerger AL, Narayan S, Cunningham JM, and Young JAT. Retroviral entry mediated by receptor priming and low pH triggering of an envelope glycoprotein. Cell 2000; 103: 679-89.

Barnett AL, Davey RA, Cunningham JM. Modular organization of the Friend murine leukemia virus envelope protein underlies the mechanism of infection. PNAS 2001; 98:4113-8.

Barnett AL and Cunningham JM. Receptor binding transforms the surface subunit of Friend murine leukemia virus from an inhibitor to an activator of fusion. J. Virol 2001; 75: 9096-9105.

Barnett AL, Wensel DL, Li W, Fass D, Cunningham JM. Structure and mechanism of a "co-receptor" for infection by a pathogenic feline retrovirus. J. Virol 2003; 77:2717-29.

Wensel DL, Li W, Cunningham JM. A virus-virus interaction circumvents the requirement for virus receptor for infection by pathogenic retroviruses. J. Virol, 2003; 77:3460-69.

Smith JG, Mothes W, Blacklow S, Cunningham JM. The mature avian leukosis virus subgroup A envelope glycoprotein is metastable and re-folding induced by the synergistic effects of receptor Binding and low pH is coupled to infection. J. Virol 2004; 78: 1403-10.

Chandran K, Sullivan, NJ, Felbor U, Whelan SP, Cunningham JM. Endosomal proteolysis of the Ebola virus glycoprotein is necessary for infection. Science 2005;308:1643-45.
Smith JG, Cunningham JM. Receptor-Induced Thiolate Couples Env Activation to Retrovirus Fusion and Infection. PLoS Pathogens; 2007;3:1971-81.

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