David Wang, Ph.D.

Professor
Molecular Microbiology
Pathology and Immunology

Molecular Microbiology and Microbial Pathogenesis Program
Immunology Program
Computational and Systems Biology Program
Plant and Microbial Biosciences Program

  • 314-286-1123

  • 314-286-1124

  • 314-362-1232

  • 8250 McDonnell Pediatric Research Building

  • davewang@wustl.edu

  • http://wanglab.wustl.edu

  • microbial pathogenesis, functional genomics, virology, genome analysis, computational biology

  • Discovery and Characterization of Novel Viruses

Research Abstract:

Research in our laboratory is focused on the identification and characterization of novel viruses. This is motivated largely by the fact that the etiologies of many diseases remain cryptic; for example, 70% of cases of viral encephalitis and 30% of respiratory tract infections defy the most sophisticated diagnostic tests used today, suggesting that unknown agents are likely to be involved in the pathogenesis of these diseases. Furthermore, new emerging viruses (e.g. SARS) pose constant threats to public health. We have developed Next Generation sequencing and bioinformatic tools optimized to detect viruses. These approaches enable systematic and unbiased screening of clinical specimens for the presence of microbial agents. To date, we have identified more than 100 novel viruses and are now working to characterize the molecular virology and clinical relevance of these viruses. Foe example, we are also evaluating a set of novel astroviruses we have discovered in patients with unexplained diarrhea. Diarrheal disease results in ~ 2 million deaths worldwide, primarily in young children in developing countries; 40% of diarrheal disease cannot be explained by the known microbial agents. Thus, our working hypothesis is that one or more of these novel astroviruses is responsible for some fraction of the unexplained diarrheal disease burden. New data suggests that they may also be causal agents of encephalitis. Finally, we have recently discovered the first viruses that infect the nematode C. elegans. We are now using the experimental infection system, in conjunction with the robust genetics available in C. elegans, to systematically define host antiviral immunity. Collectively, these projects are multidisciplinary and draw upon a broad range of experimental approaches at the interface of genomics, molecular virology, epidemiology, clinical investigation, model organism biology and bioinformatics.

Selected Publications:

Smith B, Janowski A, Danis J, Harvey I, Zhao H, Dai Y, Farnsworth C, Gronowski A, Roper S, Fremont D, and Wang D. "Seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in children and adults in St. Louis, Missouri" mSphere 2021 2021 Feb 3;6(1):e01207-20.

Jiang H, Sandoval Del Prado LE, Leung C, Wang D. "Huntingtin-interacting protein family members have a conserved pro-viral function from Caenorhabditis elegans to humans" PNAS. 2020 Sep 8;117(36):22462-22472.

Jiang H, Leung C, Tahan S, Wang D" Entry by multiple picornaviruses is dependent on a pathway that includes TNK2, WASL, and NCK1." Elife. 2019 Nov 26;8. pii: e50276

Richaud A, Frézal L, Tahan S, Zhao G, Kaur T, Wang D*, Felix MA "Vertical transmission in Caenorhabditis nematodes of RNA molecules encoding a viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase" PNAS 2019 Nov 18. pii: 201903903.

Janowski AB, Klein RS, Wang D "Differential in vitro infection of neural cells by astroviruses" mBio 2019 Jul 9;10(4). PMCID: PMC6747723.

Zhao G, Droit L, Gilbert MH, Schiro FR, Dider PJ, Si X, Paredes A, Handley SA, Virgin HW, Bohm RP, Wang D "Virome biogeography in the lower gastrointestinal tract of rhesus macaques with chronic diarrhea" Virology 2019 Jan 15;527:77-88.

Le Pen J, Jiang H, Di Domenico T, Kneuss E, Kosalka J, Leung C, Morgan M, Much C, Rudolph KLM, Enright AJ, O’Carroll D, Wang D, Miska EA "Terminal urdiylyltransferases target RNA viruses as part of the innate immune system" Nature Structural and Molecular Biology 2018 10.1038/s41594-018-0106-9. PMCID: PMC6130846.

Krishnamurthy S and Wang D "Extensive conservation of prokaryotic ribosome binding site sequences in known and novel picobirnaviruses" Virology 2018 Jan 12;516:108-114.

Blatter J, Sweet SC, Conrad C, Danziger-Isakov LA, Faro A, Goldfarb SB, Hayes D, Melicoff E, Schecter M, Storch G, Visner GA, Williams NM, Wang D "Anellovirus loads are associated with short- and long-term outcomes in pediatric lung transplantation" Pediatric Transplantation 2018 Feb;22(1). PMCID: PMC5811341.

Jiang H, Chen K, Sandov"al L, Leung C, Wang D "An evolutionarily conserved pathway required for Orsay virus infection of C. elegans" mBio 2017: 8(5). pii: e00940-17.

Janowski AB, Bauer I, Holtz L, Wang D "Propagation of astrovirus VA1, a neurotropic human astrovirus, in cell culture". J. Virol. 2017: pii: JVI.00740-17.

Krishnamurthy S, Janowski AB, Zhao G, Barouch D, Wang D "Hyperexpansion of RNA bacteriophage diversity" PLoS Biology 2016: 14(3): e1002409. PMCID: PMC4807089.

Last Updated: 8/17/2018 1:42:35 PM

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