Ayalew Mergia

Ayalew Mergia,

PROF

Department: Department of Infectious Diseases & Immunology
Business Phone: (352) 294-4139
Business Email: mergiaa@ufl.edu

Accomplishments

Professorship Award
2004 · University of Florida Research Foundation
The C. E. Corrnelius Young Investigator Award
1998 · University of Florida

Research Profile

The overall research interest in the Mergia laboratory is to develop novel antiviral therapy for immunodeficiency viruses. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has an extraordinary survival advantage, confounding existing therapies. With a short generation time, variable antigenicity, and a large number of infective virions, it is hardly surprising that despite the development of anti-viral pharmaceutical compounds, we have not managed to cure HIV infection. Novel antiviral therapy, specifically the insertion of genes which endow lymphohematopoietic cells with life-long protection against lentivirus infections, offers a fresh approach to combating HIV infection. We are developing novel, safe and efficient vectors based on a foamy virus to deliver the antiviral genes into relevant cells. Through these novel vectors, antiviral strategies and using animal models for AIDS we will be able to more rapidly determine the efficacy of gene therapy for treatment of HIV infection.

Another area of interest is the role of caveolin in HIV replication. We have determined that caveolin inhibits the HIV replication by transcription repression and modulation of virus production. Studies are in progress to understand the detailed molecular mechanisms of the role caveolin 1 in virus replications and address if it can be utilized as host-targeted intervention therapeutics for HIV and other viruses.

Areas of Interest
  • Gene therapy
  • Retroviruses

Publications

2020
The Potential Contribution of Caveolin 1 to HIV Latent Infection.
Pathogens (Basel, Switzerland). 9(11) [DOI] 10.3390/pathogens9110896. [PMID] 33121153.
2019
Extract prepared from the leaves of Ocimum basilicum inhibits the entry of Zika virus.
Acta virologica. 63(3):316-321 [DOI] 10.4149/av_2019_307. [PMID] 31507198.
2017
The Role of Caveolin 1 in HIV Infection and Pathogenesis.
Viruses. 9(6) [DOI] 10.3390/v9060129. [PMID] 28587148.
2015
HIV inhibits endothelial reverse cholesterol transport through impacting subcellular Caveolin-1 trafficking.
Retrovirology. 12 [DOI] 10.1186/s12977-015-0188-y. [PMID] 26169283.
2014
Establishing Restricted Expression of Caveolin-1 in HIV Infected Cells and Inhibition of Virus Replication.
The open microbiology journal. 8:114-21 [DOI] 10.2174/1874285801408010114. [PMID] 25408776.
2012
Caveolin-1 reduces HIV-1 infectivity by restoration of HIV Nef mediated impairment of cholesterol efflux by apoA-I.
Retrovirology. 9 [DOI] 10.1186/1742-4690-9-85. [PMID] 23067370.
2011
A Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus-encoded ortholog of microRNA miR-155 induces human splenic B-cell expansion in NOD/LtSz-scid IL2Rγnull mice.
Journal of virology. 85(19):9877-86 [DOI] 10.1128/JVI.05558-11. [PMID] 21813606.
2011
Caveolin 1 inhibits HIV replication by transcriptional repression mediated through NF-κB.
Journal of virology. 85(11):5483-93 [DOI] 10.1128/JVI.00254-11. [PMID] 21430048.
2011
Preparation of simian foamy virus type-1 vectors.
Cold Spring Harbor protocols. 2011(9) [DOI] 10.1101/pdb.prot065516. [PMID] 21880822.
2010
Caveolin-1 modulates HIV-1 envelope-induced bystander apoptosis through gp41.
Journal of virology. 84(13):6515-26 [DOI] 10.1128/JVI.02722-09. [PMID] 20392844.
2010
HIV infection upregulates caveolin 1 expression to restrict virus production.
Journal of virology. 84(18):9487-96 [DOI] 10.1128/JVI.00763-10. [PMID] 20610713.
2010
The foamy virus genome remains unintegrated in the nuclei of G1/S phase-arrested cells, and integrase is critical for preintegration complex transport into the nucleus.
Journal of virology. 84(6):2832-42 [DOI] 10.1128/JVI.02435-09. [PMID] 20032182.
2009
Accuracy estimation of foamy virus genome copying.
Retrovirology. 6 [DOI] 10.1186/1742-4690-6-32. [PMID] 19348676.
2009
Activity of TAR in inducible inhibition of HIV replication by foamy virus vector expressing siRNAs under the control of HIV LTR.
Virus research. 140(1-2):112-20 [DOI] 10.1016/j.virusres.2008.11.016. [PMID] 19110017.
2009
The use of viral vectors in introducing genes into agricultural animal species.
Animal biotechnology. 20(4):216-30 [DOI] 10.1080/10495390903196380. [PMID] 19937496.
2008
AZT-resistant foamy virus.
Virology. 370(1):151-7 [PMID] 17904181.
View on: PubMed
2008
Loss of naïve (CD45RA+) CD4+ lymphocytes during pediatric infection with feline immunodeficiency virus.
Veterinary immunology and immunopathology. 121(1-2):161-8 [PMID] 17964661.
View on: PubMed
2007
Immunopathogenesis of feline immunodeficiency virus infection in the fetal and neonatal cat.
Frontiers in bioscience : a journal and virtual library. 12:3668-82 [PMID] 17485330.
View on: PubMed
2007
Viral gene expression and provirus load of Orf-A defective FIV in lymphoid tissues and lymphocyte subpopulations of neonatal cats during acute and chronic infections.
Virus research. 130(1-2):110-20 [PMID] 17644204.
View on: PubMed
2005
Inhibition of simian immunodeficiency virus by foamy virus vectors expressing siRNAs.
Virology. 343(2):275-82 [PMID] 16181654.
View on: PubMed
2004
Hematopoiesis in the feline fetal liver: an assessment by flow cytometry.
Veterinary immunology and immunopathology. 99(1-2):53-62 [PMID] 15113654.
View on: PubMed
2003
Foamy virus vectors.
Current topics in microbiology and immunology. 277:131-59 [PMID] 12908771.
View on: PubMed
2002
A minimal genome simian foamy virus type 1 vector system with efficient gene transfer.
Virology. 302(2):236-44 [PMID] 12441068.
View on: PubMed
2002
Simian foamy virus vectors. Preparation and use.
Methods in molecular medicine. 69:319-33 [PMID] 11987786.
View on: PubMed
2002
Transduction of umbilical cord blood CD34+ NOD/SCID-repopulating cells by simian foamy virus type 1 (SFV-1) vector.
Virology. 302(2):229-35 [PMID] 12441067.
View on: PubMed
2001
Partial characterization of retroviruses from boid snakes with inclusion body disease.
American journal of veterinary research. 62(2):217-24 [PMID] 11212031.
View on: PubMed
2001
The efficiency of simian foamy virus vector type-1 (SFV-1) in nondividing cells and in human PBLs.
Virology. 280(2):243-52 [PMID] 11162838.
View on: PubMed
2001
Thymic lesions in cats infected with a pathogenic molecular clone or an ORF-A/2-deficient molecular clone of feline immunodeficiency virus.
Journal of virology. 75(13):5833-41 [PMID] 11390584.
View on: PubMed
2001
Tissue dynamics of CD8 lymphocytes that suppress viral replication in cats infected neonatally with feline immunodeficiency virus.
The Journal of infectious diseases. 184(6):671-81 [PMID] 11517427.
View on: PubMed
2000
CD8+ thymic lymphocytes express reduced levels of CD8beta and increased interferon gamma in cats perinatally infected with the JSY3 molecular clone of feline immunodeficiency virus.
AIDS research and human retroviruses. 16(15):1559-71 [PMID] 11054269.
View on: PubMed
2000
Mutational analysis of the 5′ leader region of simian foamy virus type 1.
Virology. 274(1):203-12 [PMID] 10936101.
View on: PubMed
1999
Packaging cell lines for simian foamy virus type 1 vectors.
Journal of virology. 73(5):4498-501 [PMID] 10196355.
View on: PubMed
1998
Characterization of provirus clones of simian foamy virus type 1.
Journal of virology. 72(1):817-22 [PMID] 9420293.
View on: PubMed
1998
cis-Acting sequences required for simian foamy virus type 1 vectors.
Journal of virology. 72(4):3451-4 [PMID] 9525680.
View on: PubMed
1997
Inhibition of FIV replication by a ribozyme that targets the Rev response element.
AIDS research and human retroviruses. 13(15):1333-9 [PMID] 9339850.
View on: PubMed
1997
Simian foamy virus type 1 (SFV-1) induces apoptosis.
Virus research. 50(2):129-37 [PMID] 9282778.
View on: PubMed
1996
Cell tropism of the simian foamy virus type 1 (SFV-1).
Journal of medical primatology. 25(1):2-7 [PMID] 8740945.
View on: PubMed
1994
Glutathione-S-transferase activates novel alkylating agents.
Journal of medicinal chemistry. 37(10):1501-7 [PMID] 8182709.
View on: PubMed
1994
Isolation, cloning, and sequencing of simian foamy viruses from chimpanzees (SFVcpz): high homology to human foamy virus (HFV).
Virology. 201(2):187-99 [PMID] 8184531.
View on: PubMed
1994
Reactivity of primate sera to foamy virus Gag and Bet proteins.
The Journal of general virology. 75 ( Pt 10):2635-44 [PMID] 7931149.
View on: PubMed
1994
Simian foamy virus type 1 contains a second promoter located at the 3′ end of the env gene.
Virology. 199(1):219-22 [PMID] 8116246.
View on: PubMed
1993
Functional domains of the simian foamy virus type 1 transcriptional transactivator (Taf).
Journal of virology. 67(8):4598-604 [PMID] 8392601.
View on: PubMed
1992
cis-acting regulatory regions in the long terminal repeat of simian foamy virus type 1.
Journal of virology. 66(1):251-7 [PMID] 1309244.
View on: PubMed
1991
Identification of the simian foamy virus transcriptional transactivator gene (taf).
Journal of virology. 65(6):2903-9 [PMID] 1851862.
View on: PubMed
1991
Replication and regulation of primate foamy viruses.
Virology. 184(2):475-82 [PMID] 1653483.
View on: PubMed
1990
Relationship of the env genes and the endonuclease domain of the pol genes of simian foamy virus type 1 and human foamy virus.
Journal of virology. 64(1):406-10 [PMID] 2152825.
View on: PubMed
1990
Simian foamy virus type 1 is a retrovirus which encodes a transcriptional transactivator.
Journal of virology. 64(8):3598-604 [PMID] 2370676.
View on: PubMed
1989
Structural analysis of the gene for human acidic fibroblast growth factor.
Biochemical and biophysical research communications. 164(3):1121-9 [PMID] 2590193.
View on: PubMed
1987
Basic fibroblast growth factor in human rhabdomyosarcoma cells: implications for the proliferation and neovascularization of myoblast-derived tumors.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 84(3):842-6 [PMID] 2433691.
View on: PubMed
1986
Human basic fibroblast growth factor: nucleotide sequence and genomic organization.
The EMBO journal. 5(10):2523-8 [PMID] 3780670.
View on: PubMed
1986
Human basic fibroblast growth factor: nucleotide sequence, genomic organization, and expression in mammalian cells.
Cold Spring Harbor symposia on quantitative biology. 51 Pt 1:657-68 [PMID] 3472745.
View on: PubMed
1986
Nucleotide sequence of a bovine clone encoding the angiogenic protein, basic fibroblast growth factor.
Science (New York, N.Y.). 233(4763):545-8 [PMID] 2425435.
View on: PubMed
1986
The genes for basic and acidic fibroblast growth factors are on different human chromosomes.
Biochemical and biophysical research communications. 138(2):644-51 [PMID] 3741426.
View on: PubMed
1983
A new technique for genetic engineering of Agrobacterium Ti plasmid.
Plasmid. 10(1):21-30 [PMID] 6312475.
View on: PubMed

Grants

Aug 2017 – Jan 2021
Identification of potent cross neutralizing Dengue antibodies using single-cell technology
Role: Co-Investigator
Funding: NATL INST OF HLTH NIAID
Feb 2015 ACTIVE
UF Health Cancer Center Pilot Project Grants funded through the Florida Consortium of National Cancer Institute Centers Program
Role: Project Manager
Funding: UF HEALTH SHANDS HOSPITAL

Education

Doctor of Philosophy in Microbiology
1990 · University of California, Davis

Teaching Profile

Courses Taught
2006-2021
VME6933 Seminar in Infectious Diseases and Experimental Pathology
2010,2015-2016
VEM5131 Vet Molecular Biology
2015
VME6464 Molecular Pathogenesis
2006,2009-2014
VME6934 Topics in Veterinary Medical Sciences
2009
VME6905 Problems in Veterinary Medical Sciences

Contact Details

Phones:
Business:
(352) 294-4139
Emails:
Business:
mergiaa@ufl.edu

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