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Molecular Virology and Microbiology

Houston, Texas

BCM has 25 departments and more than 90 research and patient-care centers.
Department of Molecular Virology and Microbiology
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Cliona M. Rooney, Ph.D.

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Cliona M. Rooney, Ph.D.

Department of Pediatrics Hematology-Oncology Cell & Gene Therapy

Research Interests

Virus-Specific Cytotoxic T Lymphocytes for the Treatment of Virus-Associated Disease and Malignancies
Project 1: Evasion of intrinsic cellular antiviral defenses by gammaherpesviruses.

Promyelocytic Leukemia Nuclear Bodies (PML NBs) are nuclear organelles organized by the PML protein itself and contain other cellular proteins like Sp100A and Daxx. PML NBs mediate an intrinsic cellular antiviral defense, especially against herpesviruses. Recent work from our laboratory has found that Epstein-Barr virus, a human herpesvirus associated with several B cell malignancies, encodes a protein that interacts with the PML NB-associated protein Sp100A. Our hypothesis is that EBNA-LP counteracts PML NB-mediated repression of viral gene expression through its interactions with Sp100. We are currently using genetic, biochemical, and molecular approaches to understand the mechanisms by which EBNA-LP association with Sp100 mediates efficient B cell immortalization by EBV. These studies will provide valuable insight into the mechanisms of EBV-mediated B cell immortalization, the pathogenesis of EBV-associated malignancies, viral persistence, and possibly B cell biology in general. In addition, we are hopeful that our investigations will reveal what the normal function of Sp100 is, which remains to be clarified.

Contact Information

Department of Pediatrics Hematology-Oncology Cell & Gene Therapy
Baylor College of Medicine
One Baylor Plaza, MS BCM385
Houston, TX, 77030, U.S.A.



Ph.D. - Cambridge University, UK

Recent Publications (PubMed)

Foster AE, Leen AM, Lee T, Okamura T, Lu A, Vera J, Atkinson R, Dotti G, Rooney CM. Autologous designer antigen presenting cells by gene modification of T lymphocyte blasts with IL-7 and IL-12. J.Immunotherapy 2007 (in press)

Straathof KC, Pulè MA, Yotnda P, Dotti G, Vanin EF, Brenner MK, Heslop HE, Spencer DM, Rooney CM. An Inducible Caspase 9 Safety Switch For T Cell Therapy. Blood Jun 2005;105:4247-4254.

Bollard CM, Gottschalk S, Leen AM, Weiss H, Straathof KC, Carrum G, Khalil M, Wu MF, Huls MH, Chang CC, Gresik MV, Gee AP, Brenner MK, Rooney CM, Heslop HE.Complete responses of relapsed lymphoma following genetic modification of tumor-antigen presenting cells and T-lymphocyte transfer. Blood. 2007 Jul 3; [Epub ahead of print]