Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Microbiology and Immunology


During viral infection, the virus and host must compete for resources inside the cell. One of these resources is polyamines. Polyamines are small, positively charged molecules that are found in all eukaryotic cells. They play a key role in several cellular functions including growth and proliferation, transcription and translation, and membrane stability. Viruses also rely polyamines for productive replication, utilizing them during DNA/RNa polymerization, nucleic acid packaging, and protein synthesis. in response to a virus infecting a host cell, the host cell will begin to regulate polyamine levels as a way to combat the infection. Polyamine levels are regulated by several different enzymes, including SAT1. SAT1 acetylates polyamines to form acetyl derivatives leading to degradation or excretion of the polyamines and therefore, rendering them useless to the virus. the virus, in turn needs to combat this to continue infection. Recent studies suggest that one way the virus does this is by splicing the polyamine regulatory enzymes' genes before they can be transcribed. We found that Zika virus, a flavivirus, may alter SAT1 splicing and activity. We hypothesize that ZIKV induced alternative splicing of the SAT1 gene generates an enzyme that is nonfunctional allowing robust virus infection by disrupting polyamine depletion.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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