Justin T. Massey, PhD, MD

Position title: Ahlquist Laboratory 2009-2016

Research Title: Analysis of Host Membrane-shaping Reticulon Proteins in HIV-1 Replication

Research Summary: Justin Massey tested and confirmed a robust and specific interaction between the reticulon homology proteins (RHPs) and VPU (Jager et al., Nature, 2012). However, he has not observed a clear, reproducible phenotype of knockdown or overexpression of RHPs on the two most important and well-characterized functions of VPU: CD4 degradation and antagonism of tetherin. In addition, in initial experiments, Justin identified that RTN3 knockdown results in decrease in nuclear entry in HEK293T cells. Furthermore, work with siRNA-resistant HEK293T cells as well as more relevant HIV-1 cell lines (Jurkat and THP-1 cells) did not recapitulate the HIV-1 entry phenotype. He determined that the original HEK293T results were due to cell growth effects of the siRNAs and not due to protein knockdown of RTN3.

Justin completed both the MD and PhD degrees at UW-Madison and is currently doing a medical residency.