Gail W. Wertz,
College: College of William & Mary, Williamsburg,
VA, B.S. - Biology
Graduate School: University of Pittsburgh, School of
Medicine, Department of Microbiology, Pittsburgh, PA, Ph.D. -
Post Doctoral: University of Michigan, School of
Medicine, Department of Human Genetics, Ann Arbor, MI. -
University of Michigan, School of Medicine, Department of Human
Genetics, Ann Arbor, MI, Research Associate - Molecular
RNA viruses are among the most serious uncontrolled causes of extant
and emerging infectious disease. The Wertz lab investigates the
molecular mechanisms of replication and transcription of the
non-segmented negative strand RNA viruses. Using the prototypic
rhabdovirus, VSV, and the major childhood pathogen, human respiratory
syncytial virus, HRSV, we investigate the cis-acting signals and
trans-acting factors involved in control of gene expression and genome
replication of these viruses to understand at the molecular level how
these agents replicate, cause disease and may be controlled. These
viruses have an elegantly simple mechanism for controlling gene
expression, which is by the highly conserved order of their genes
relative to a single transcriptional promoter. We have used this
principle for control of transcription to manipulate the phenotype by
rearranging the order of genes. By translocation of individual
genes, or groups of genes to up or down regulate their levels of
expression, we have developed stable virus variants that allow
investigation of the role of these gene products in numerous aspects of
the virus replication cycle and the interaction of the virus with its
host. In the case of HRSV we have found that in addition to
antigenic variation to evade an existing immune response, genetic
variation exists in transcriptional signals of clinical lineages which
can alter control of expression of important genes and affect
reinfection potential. We are currently analyzing the stability and
evolution of viruses with changes introduced into control elements and
using the power of selective pressure to identify key cis- and
trans-acting elements in the processes of transcription and
Gail W. Wertz, Professor of Microbiology, obtained her Ph.D. degree
from the University of Pittsburgh Medical School, Pennsylvania.
Following a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Michigan ,
she was a Professor of Microbiology at the University of North Carolina
at Chapel Hill and subsequently Professor of Microbiology at the
University of Alabama until 2005 when she became part of the Pathology
faculty at UVA. Dr. Wertz's research on human respiratory syncytial
virus has identified unique viral gene products important in
replication and pathogenesis. Recent work from her lab has pioneered
genetic engineering of negative strand RNA viruses. This has allowed
development of new principles for systematic alteration of phenotype to
generate attenuated virus vaccine candidates. Dr. Wertz is past
President of the American Society for Virology, served on the NIH NIAID
Advisory Council and the CDC Basic Science Advisory Board, and
was a recipient of two NIH MERIT Awards.
- Sastre, P. A.G.Oomens and G.W. Wertz. 2007.
The stability of Human Respiratory Syncytial Virus is enhanced by
incorporation of the baculovirus GP64 Protein.
Vaccine; In Press.
- Oomens, A.G., Bevis, K., and G.W. Wertz.
2006. The Cytoplasmic Tail of the Human Respiratory Syncytial Virus F
Protein Plays a Critical Role in Cellular Localization of the F Protein
and Infectious Progeny Production. J. Virol.
- Green,T.J., X. Zhang, G.W. Wertz and M. Luo. 2006.
Structure of the Vesicular Stomatitis Virus Nucleoprotein-RNA Complex.
Science. 313 (5785):357-360.
- Martinez, I. and G. W. Wertz. 2005.
Biological differences between vesicular stomatitis virus Indiana
and New Jersey serotype glycoproteins: Identification of amino acid
residues modulating pH dependent infectivity. J.
- Moudy,R.M., W. M. Sullender, and G.W. Wertz.
2004. Variations in intergenic region sequences of Human
respiratory syncytial virus clinical isolates: analysis of effects
- Novella, I.S. ,L.A. Ball and G.W. Wertz.
2004. Fitness Analyses of VSV strains with rearranged
genomes reveal replicative disadvantages. J.
Virol. 78: 9837-9841.
- Martinez, I., J. del C. Barrera, L.L. Rodriguez, and
G.W. Wertz. 2004. Recombinant Vesicular
Stomatitis (Indiana) Virus expressing New Jersey and Indiana
glycoproteins induces neutralizing antibodies to each serotype in
swine, a natural
host. Vaccine, 22:4035-4043.
- Oomens, A.G.P. and G.W. Wertz.
2004. Trans-Complementation allows recovery of human respiratory
syncytial viruses that are infectious but deficient in cell to
cell transmission. J. Virol. 78:
- Wertz, G. W. and R.M. Moudy. 2004.
Antigenic and genetic variation in human respiratory syncytial virus.
The Pediatric Infectious Disease
- Oomens, A.G.P. and G.W. Wertz. 2004. The
Baculovirus GP64 Protein mediates highly stable infectivity of a human
respiratory syncytial virus lacking its homologous transmembrane
glycoproteins. J. Virol.
- Whelan, S.P.J., J.N. Barr and G.W. Wertz. 2004.
Transcription and replication of Nonsegmented Negative Strand RNA
Viruses. In: Biology of Negative Strand RNA Viruses: The power of
Reverse Genetics, Y. Kawaoka, Ed. Current Topics in
Microbiology. 283: 61-119.
- Martinez, I., L.L. Rodriguez, C. Jimenez, S. Pauszek, and
G.W. Wertz. 2003. Vesicular stomatitis virus
glycoprotein is a determinant of pathogenesis in swine, a natural
Virology, 77, 8039-8047.
- Cartee, T. W., A. G. Megaw, A. G. P Oomens and G. W.
Wertz. 2003. Identification of a single amino acid
change in the human respiratory syncytial virus L protein that affects
transcriptional termination. J. Virol.
- Moudy, R. M., S. B. Harmon, W. M. Sullender and G. W.
Wertz. 2003. Variations in transcription
termination signals of human respiratory syncytial virus clinical
isolates affect gene expression.
Virology, 313, 250-260.
- Flanagan, E.B., T.R. Schoeb and G.W. Wertz. 2003.
Vesicular Stomatitis Viruses with Rearranged Genomes have Altered
Invasiveness and Neuropathogenesis in Mice. J.
Virol. 77, 5740-5748.
- Barr, J.N., R.M. Elliott, E. F. Dunn, and G.W.
Wertz. 2003. Segment-specific terminal sequences of Bunyamwera
bunyavirus regulate genome replication.
Virology, 308, 326-338.
- Oomens, A. G. P., A. G. Megaw, and G. W.
Wertz. 2003. Infectivity of a human respiratory
syncytial virus lacking the SH, G, and F proteins is efficiently
mediated by the vesicular stomatitis virus G protein.
J. Virol., 77, 3785-3798.
- Harmon, S.B. and G. W. Wertz. 2002.
Transcriptional termination modulated by nucleotides outside the
characterized gene end sequence of respiratory syncytial virus.
Virology, 300, 304-315.
- Wertz, G.W., R. Moudy and L.A. Ball. 2002. Adding
genes to the RNA genome of vesicular stomatitis virus: Positional
effects on stability of expression. J.
Virol. 76, 7642-7650.
- Hinzman, E. E., J.N. Barr and G.W. Wertz. 2002.
Identification of an upstream sequence element required for
transcription of VSV mRNAs. J. Virol.76,
- Whelan, S.P.J. and G.W. Wertz. 2002. Transcription
and replication initiate at separate sites on the vesicular stomatitis
virus genome. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci.
USA 99, 9178-9183.
Barr, J.N., X. Tang, E. Hinzman, R. Shen and G.W. Wertz. 2008.
The VSV polymerase can initiate at mRNA start sites
located either up or downstream of a transcription
termination signal but size of the intervening intergenic region
affects efficiency of initiation. Virology
Batonick, M. A. Oomens and G.W. Wertz. 2008. Human respiratory
syncytial virus glycoproteins are not required for apical
targeting or polarized release of virus. J. Virol. 82: 8664-8672.
Hinzman, E., J.N. Barr and G.W. Wertz. 2008. Selection for gene
junction sequences important for VSV transcription.
Galloway, S., P.E. Richardson and G.W. Wertz. 2008. Analysis
of a structural homology model of the 2'-O-ribose
methyltransferase domain within the vesicular stomatitis virus
protein. Virology. 382:69-82.
Galloway, S. and G.W. Wertz. 2008. S-adenosyl
homocysteine-induced hyper-polyadenylation of
VSV mRNA requires the methyltransferase activity of the L protein. J.
Galloway, S. and G.W. Wertz. 2009. A temperature sensitive VSV
identifies L protein residues involved in transcription but not
replication. Virology 388:286-293.
Harouaka, D. and G. W. Wertz. 2009. Mutations in the
C-termianlLoop of the Nucleocapsid
Protein Affect VSV RNA Replication and Transcription
Differentially. J. Virol.
Rainsford, E.W., D. Harouaka and G. W. Wertz. 2010. Importance of
Hydrogen Bond Contacts between the N Protein and RNA Genome
of vesicular stomatitis virus in encapsidation and RNA Synthesis. J.
Wertz, G.W., S.E. Galloway and D. Harouaka. 2010. What Controls the
Distinct VSV RNA
Synthetic Processes of Replication and Transcription. In Press.
- Batonick, M. and G.W. Wertz. 2011. Requirements for human
respiratory syncytial virus glycoproteins in assembly and egress from
infected cells. Advances in Virology, vol. 2011, Article ID 343408, 11
A more complete list of Dr. Wertz' publications can
be obtained from
Contact Information -
Phone: (434) 982-6039
Address: 415 Lane Road, MR5 Building,
Room 3051, PO Box 800904, Charlottesville, VA. 22908