Fontoura Lab

Cell Biology of Viral-Host Interactions


Our laboratory studies the cell biology of viral-host interactions. Our main focus is on the interplay between RNA viruses, such as influenza A and SARS-CoV-2 viruses, and nuclear processes.

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Review figure 3

Targeting Nsp1 protein could be a pathway for COVID-19 therapy


A study that identifies how a coronavirus protein called Nsp1 blocks the activity of genes that promote viral replication provides hope for new COVID-19 treatments.

Since the start of the pandemic, scientists have worked endlessly to understand SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Even with the arrival of vaccines, the virus is still spreading and there is a need to develop alternative therapies. Scientists hope to achieve this by studying how SARS-CoV-2 infects cells and propagates itself while avoiding the body’s natural immune system.

Now researchers at UT Southwestern have added another piece to this puzzle with their study published in Science Advances.



Influenza virus mRNAs encode determinants for nuclear export via the cellular TREX-2 complex

P Bhat, V Aksenova, M Gazzara, EA Rex, S Aslam, C Haddad, S Gao, ...

Nature Communications 14 (1), 2304, Published: 

Nuclear speckles

UTSW scientists identify protein key to inhibiting flu virus

Published : June 20, 2022 

Down-regulating TAO2 prevents influenza from replicating in cells and could provide new target for antiviral therapies.

A collaborative study from UT Southwestern scientists has identified a new function for a protein called TAO2 that appears to be key to inhibiting replication of the influenza virus, which sickens millions of individuals worldwide each year and kills hundreds of thousands. The findings were published in PNAS.


SARNP recognizes DDX39B

Structural basis for high-order complex of SARNP and DDX39B to facilitate mRNP assembly

Structural basis for high-order complex of SARNP and DDX39B to facilitate mRNP assembly

Xie Y., Gao S., Zhang K., Bhat P., Clarke B.P., Batten K., Mei M., Matthew Gazzar M., Shay J.W., Lynch K.W., Angelos A.E., Hill P.S., Ivey A.L., Fontoura B. M.  A., and Ren Y.

Published : August 12, 2023 in Cell Reports