Edward Harhaj, PhD Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology Penn State Cancer Institute Cancer Institute, Mechanisms of Carcinogenesis

When November 30, 2022, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Where 106 AVBS Building

Contact Margaret Weber

Contact Phone 814-865-7697

Web Visit external website

Dr. Edward Harhaj’s research interests focus on the mechanisms of viral-induced malignancy by the human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1). HTLV-1 is a retrovirus that primarily infects CD4+ T lymphocytes and is etiologically linked to adult T-cell leukemia (ATL) and an inflammatory autoimmune-like neurological disorder known as HTLV-1-associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP). Tax is a trans-activating protein encoded by the HTLV-1 genome that regulates viral and cellular gene expression. The underlying mechanisms of Tax-mediated oncogenesis are unclear and are the primary focus of research in this laboratory. One of the main cellular targets of Tax is the NF-kB/Rel transcription factor family, an important regulator of cell growth, survival and innate and adaptive immunity. NF-kB is constitutively activated in Tax-expressing cells, HTLV-1 transformed cell lines and ATL cells. Tax requires NF-kB for the immortalization of primary T cells and ATL cells are dependent on NF-kB for their survival. Thus, determining the mechanisms of Tax-mediated activation of NF-kB as well as Tax-independent NF-kB activation in ATL is a major focus in the laboratory. Dr. Harhaj’s laboratory is currently investigating the role of autophagy and ubiquitin pathway components in Tax activation of NF-kB.