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tel. (612) 624-1926

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General Questions:

Stephen Rice,
Associate Professor

Microbiology, Medical School

Phone: 612-626-4183



Ph.D., University of Utah, 1985

Research Interests

Herpes simplex virus gene expression. The infection of mammalian cells with herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) results in dramatic alterations to the host cell nucleus, so that viral genes are expressed at high levels, while cellular genes are nearly completely suppressed. This genetic subversion is accomplished by a small set of HSV-1 regulatory proteins, which are amenable to biochemical and genetic analysis. Currently, our laboratory is studying two of these proteins, ICP27 and ICP22. ICP27 is conserved in all known herpesviruses and is absolutely essential for HSV-1 late gene expression. Although its mechanism of action is unknown, a variety of evidence suggests that it is an unusual type of gene regulator which affects pre-mRNA processing and transport. Consistent with its suspected post-transcriptional role, we have shown that ICP27 is an RNA-binding protein that continuously shuttles between the nucleus and cytoplasm. We are also studying ICP22, an HSV-1 protein which is required for viral growth in some cell lines. We have found that HSV-1 infection alters the phosphorylation of the large subunit of RNA polymerase II, and that this effect requires ICP22. Our current goal is to delineate the molecular pathway by which ICP22 alters RNA polymerase II and to understand the functional significance of this change.

Selected Recent Publications

  • Fraser, K and S.A. Rice. 2005. Herpes simplex virus type 1 infection leads to loss of serine-2 phosphorylation on the carboxyl-terminal domain of RNA polymerase II. J. Virol. 79:11323-11334. 77:9872-9884.
  • Perkins, K.D., J. Gregonis, S. Borge, and S.A. Rice. 2003. Transactivation of a viral target gene by herpes simplex virus ICP27 is post-transcriptional and does not require the endogenous promoter or polyadenylation site. J. Virol. 77:9872-9884.
  • Koffa, M.D., J. Kean, G. Zachos, S. Rice and J.B. Clements. 2003. CK2 protein kinase is stimulated and redistributed by herpes simplex virus ICP27 protein. J. Virol. 77:4315-4325.
  • Lengyel, J., C. Guy, V. Leong, S. Borge, and S.A. Rice. 2002. Mapping of functional regions in the amino-terminal portion of the herpes simplex virus ICP27 regulatory protein: importance of the leucine-rich nuclear export signal and RGG box RNA-binding domain. J. Virol. 76:11866-79.
  • Aubert, M., S.A. Rice, and J. Blaho. 2001. Accumulation of herpes simplex virus type 1 early and leaky-late proteins correlates with apoptosis prevention in infected human HEp-2 cells. J Virol. 75:1013-1030.
  • Ellison, K.S, S.A. Rice, R. Verity and J.R. Smiley. 2000. Processing of alpha-globin and ICP0 mRNA in cells infected with HSV-1 ICP27 mutants. J. Virol. 74:7307-19.
  • Bunnell, S.M., and S.A. Rice. 2000. The conserved carboxyl-terminal half of herpes simplex virus type 1 regulatory protein ICP27 is dispensable for viral growth in the presence of compensatory mutations. J. Virol. 74:7362-7374.
  • Long, M., V. Leong, P. Schaffer, C. Spencer, and S. Rice. (1999) ICP22 and the UL13 protein kinase are both required for herpes simplex virus-induced modification of the large subunit of RNA polymerase II. J. Virol. 73:5593-5604.
  • Mears, W., and S.A. Rice. (1998) The herpes simplex virus regulatory protein ICP27 shuttles between the nucleus and cytoplasm. Virology 242:128-137.

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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Read about bacteriophage phi 29 and why it matters.

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Explore nearly a century's worth of discovery in the field of virology at the University of Minnesota.


"This Week in Virology" from professor Vincent Racaniello.