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Judith Lesnaw


Ph.D. Univ. of Illinois, Urbana 1969


Molecular Virology

My research program is focused on understanding the mechanisms of negative-stand RNA virus transcription and replication. Our model system is the transcription complex of vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) which contains a large multifunctional protein. We are integrating genetic, biochemical and recombinant DNA technologies to the identification of functional domains within the VSV transcription complex. Specific approaches include: identification of functional and structural mutational lesions in spontaneous mutants; generation of site-directed mutations targeted to conserve regions which we recently identified by direct RNA sequencing; and enzyme active site-directed photoaffinity labeling. Knowledge that emerges from these studies will direct the design of new therapeutic agents for a wide array of human pathogens, and will contribute to our understanding of proteins that contain useful constellations of enzyme activities.

Selected Publications:
  • Hammond, David C., Robert K. Evans, and Judith A. Lesnaw (1992). The L Protein of Vesicular Stomatitis Virus Transcription Complexes is Specifically Photolabeled by 5-Azido-uridine 5'-Triphosphate, an Analog of the RNA Polymerase Substrate Uridine 5'-Triphosphate. J. Gen. Virol. 73:61-66.
  • Hammond, David C., Boyd E. Haley, and Judith A. Lesnaw (1992). Identification and Characterization of Serine/Threonine Protein Kinase Activity Intrinisic to the L Protein of VSV New Jersey. J. Gen Virol. 73:67-75.
  • van den Heuvel, J.F.J.M., D.W. Thornbury, T.P. Pirone, and J.A. Lesnaw (1993). A simple and efficient procedure for the oral inoculation of Trichoplusia ni larvae with polyhedrin-negative recombinant baculovirus. J. Virol. Methods 42:207-216.