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IMV Executive Assistant


tel. (612) 624-1926

fax. (612) 625-1108


18-242 Moos Tower
515 Delaware St. SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

General Questions:

Wade Bresnahan,
Associate Professor



Phone: (612) 626-5876


University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, 1997, Ph.D.

Research Interests

Molecular mechanisms of human cytomegalovirus replication and pathogenesis

Our laboratory is focused on understanding the molecular mechanisms of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) replication and pathogenesis. HCMV is a ubiquitous herpesvirus that infects greater than 80% of the population. Like all herpesviruses, HCMV is capable of entering a state of latency, which provides for life-long infection following primary exposure. Clinically, HCMV is a serious pathogen that causes severe manifestations in individuals with immature or compromised immune systems. The increasing use of therapeutic immunosuppression, organ transplantation and the incidence of AIDS have all focused attention upon understanding the HCMV life cycle, with a view toward identifying approaches to attenuate primary and/or reactivated HCMV infection. Our research focuses on three areas of HCMV biology that include: 1) the generation and characterization of HCMV mutants 2) genomic approaches to study HCMV gene regulation, and 3) the virus/host cell interaction.

One of the main interests in the laboratory involves determining what role HCMV tegument molecules play during replication. These tegument molecules are packaged within the virus particle and delivered immediately upon infection to the host cell. These tegument molecules are important regulators of viral and cellular gene expression, modulators of the host anti-viral response, and are critical for “kick starting” the viral infection. Our laboratory uses numerous biochemical and genetic approaches to decipher the functions of these HCMV tegument molecules and examine what role they play in viral replication and pathogenesis.

Selected Recent Publications

  • Taylor RT, Bresnahan WA. (2006). Human cytomegalovirus IE86 attenuates virus- and tumor necrosis factor alpha-induced NFkappaB-dependent gene expression. J Virol. 80(21):10763-71
  • Cantrell SR, Bresnahan WA. (2006). Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) UL82 gene product (pp71) relieves hDaxx-mediated repression of HCMV replication. J Virol. 80(12):6188-91.
  • Taylor RT, Bresnahan WA.(2006) Human cytomegalovirus immediate-early 2 protein IE86 blocks virus-induced chemokine expression. J Virol. Jan;80(2):920-8.
  • Cantrell, S., and W.A. Bresnahan. 2005. Interaction between the human cytomegalovirus UL82 gene product (pp71) and hDaxx regulates Immediate-early gene expression and viral replication. J. Virol.79:7792-7802.
  • Taylor, R.T., and W.A. Bresnahan. 2005. Human Cytomegalovirus Immediate Early-2 Gene Expression Blocks Virus-Induced Interferon Beta Production. J. Virol.79:3873-3877.
  • Zou, Y., W.A. Bresnahan, R.T. Taylor, and P. Stastny. 2005. The cytoplasmic tail is required for down-regulation of MICA by human cytomegalovirus. J. Immunol.174:3098-3104.
  • Wang, D., W.A. Bresnahan, and T. Shenk. 2004. Human cytomegalovirus encodes a highly specific RANTES decoy receptor.  Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci.(USA)101:16642-16647.
  • Zhu, H., J-P. Cong, D. Yu, W.A. Bresnahan, and T. Shenk. 2002. Inhibition of COX-2 blocks human cytomegalovirus replication. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. (USA). 99:3932-3947.
  • Heider, J., W.A. Bresnahan, and T. Shenk. 2002. Construction of a rationally designed human cytomegalovirus variant encoding a temperature-sensitive immediate-early 2 protein. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. (USA). 99:3141-3146.
  • Bresnahan, W.A., and T. Shenk. 2000. A subset of viral transcripts packaged within human cytomegalovirus particles. Science. 288:2373-2376.
  • Bresnahan, W.A., and T. Shenk. 2000. UL82 virion protein activates expression of immediate early viral genes in human cytomegalovirus-infected cells. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. (U S A). 97:14506-14511.
  • Bresnahan, W.A., G.E. Hultman, and T. Shenk. 2000. Replication of wild-type and mutant human cytomegalovirus in life-extended human diploid fibroblasts. J Virol. 74:10816-10818.
  • Bresnahan, W.A., T. Albrecht, and E.A. Thompson. 1998. The cyclin E promoter is activated by human cytomegalovirus 86-kDa immediate early protein. J Biol. Chem. 273:22075-22082.



Featured News & Events

'Wisc-e-sota', a Joint UMN-UW Virology Training Grant Symposium was first held on Friday, Sepbember 20th, 2013 at the Uniiversity of Wisconsin-La Crosse, Cartwright Center. This was the inaugural collaborative symposium of the NIH T32-supported virology training programs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Talks and poster sessions were presented by students, postdocs and faculty. The second UMN-UW Virology Training Grant Symposium will be held in the Fall 2014. Details to follow.

The 2014 IMV Symposium will be held on May 12, 2014 and Mark Denison (Vanderbilt) and Bert Semler (UC-Irvine) will be the Keynote Speakers. Click on the link below to register and submit abstracts.

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