Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

About the PNAS Member Editor
Name Ahlquist, Paul
Location University of Wisconsin-Madison
Primary Field Biochemistry
Secondary Field Microbial Biology
 Election Citation
Ahlquist is known for pioneering advances in the replication and gene expression of RNA viruses. He was first to synthesize infectious transcripts from cloned cDNA of an RNA virus genome and to create RNA virus gene vectors that replicate and express foreign genes in transfected cells. His studies of gene function and regulation in small split-genome viruses have provided new insight in basic infection processes.
 Research Interests
My laboratory is studying the mechanisms of RNA replication, gene expression/regulation, RNA-RNA recombination, host specificity, and other processes in positive-strand RNA viruses, a major class of medically and economically important viruses in all higher eukaryotes. Deciphering these novel RNA-based processes should continue to provide new insights into basic biochemistry and cell biology, advance understanding of virus-host interactions and infection pathology, lead to more effective and potentially broad-spectrum antiviral agents, and enhance the beneficial use of RNA viruses and their components in genetic engineering and medicine. Using selected model viruses that share conserved replication genes and other features with a wide range of viruses, we are studying the function and interaction of viral proteins, viral RNAs and host factors in the assembly, structure, and function of the membrane-bound viral RNA replication complex, subgenomic mRNA transcription, viral RNA encapsidation, virion assembly, and other processes. We also recently developed the first systems in which higher eukaryotic viruses can replicate in the genetically tractable yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, allowing us to use powerful yeast genetics to overcome long-standing barriers to identify and characterize crucial host factors and virus-host interactions in many steps of infection.

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