Michael Reeves L&S Sciences
Delivery of a Gene Targeting Agent Against HCMV by Salmonella Vector in Human Cells
Human Cytomegalovirus Virus (HCMV) may go unnoticed in people with healthy immune systems; however, this opportunistic pathogen can be life threatening to immunodeficient individuals including AIDS patients, newborns, and transplant patients. Nucleic acid molecules such as ribozymes are promising gene – interfering agents. This enzymatic RNA accomplishes gene-interference by targeting and cleaving a specific region of mRNA e.g., viral mRNA. In my research I will take advantage of the ability of Salmonella bacteria to enter human cells and transfer genetic material to host cells, leading to efficient expression of the transferred genes. My goal is to use an attenuated strain of Salmonella bacteria as a carrier system to transfer the M1-GS ribozyme genes to HCMV-infected human cells in vitro. Successful delivery and expression of the M1-GS ribozyme gene in the cell will lead to cleavage of the viral mRNA coding for proteins that are essential for the HCMV virus to replicate. Therefore, significantly inhibiting the virus.