Daniel Blanco-Melo

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MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small RNA molecules recognized as important regulators of gene expression. Although plant miRNAs have been extensively studied in model systems, less is known in other plants with limited genome sequence data. We are interested in the identification of miRNAs in Phaseolus vulgaris (common bean) to uncover different plant strategies to(More)
The HIV-1 Gag protein orchestrates all steps of virion genesis, including membrane targeting and RNA recruitment into virions. Using crosslinking-immunoprecipitation (CLIP) sequencing, we uncover several dramatic changes in the RNA-binding properties of Gag that occur during virion genesis, coincident with membrane binding, multimerization, and proteolytic(More)
Myxovirus resistance 2 (Mx2/MxB) has recently been uncovered as an effector of the anti-HIV-1 activity of type I interferons (IFNs) that inhibits HIV-1 at an early stage postinfection, after reverse transcription but prior to proviral integration into host DNA. The mechanistic details of Mx2 antiviral activity are not yet understood, but a few substitutions(More)
Viral infections are often detrimental to host survival and reproduction. Consequently, hosts have evolved a variety of mechanisms to defend themselves against viruses. A component of this arsenal is a set of proteins, termed restriction factors, which exhibit direct antiviral activity. Among these are several classes of proteins (APOBEC3, TRIM5, Tetherin,(More)
Endogenous Retroviruses (ERVs) are retroviruses that over the course of evolution have integrated into germline cells and eventually become part of the host genome. They proliferate within the germline of their host, making up ~5% of the human and mouse genome sequences. Several lines of evidence have suggested a decline in the rate of ERV integration into(More)
In contrast to the DNA-based viruses in prokaryotes, the emergence of eukaryotes provided the necessary compartmentalization and membranous environment for RNA viruses to flourish, creating the need for an RNA-targeting antiviral system. Present day eukaryotes employ at least two main defence strategies that emerged as a result of this viral shift, namely(More)
Endogenous retroviral sequences provide a molecular fossil record of ancient infections whose analysis might illuminate mechanisms of viral extinction. A close relative of gammaretroviruses, HERV-T, circulated in primates for ~25 million years (MY) before apparent extinction within the past ~8 MY. Construction of a near-complete catalog of HERV-T fossils in(More)
Tetherin encodes an interferon-inducible antiviral protein that traps a broad spectrum of enveloped viruses at infected cell surfaces. Despite the absence of any clearly related gene or activity, we describe possible scenarios by which tetherin arose that exemplify how protein modularity, evolvability, and robustness can create and preserve new functions.(More)
Vertebrate genomes exhibit marked CG suppression-that is, lower than expected numbers of 5'-CG-3' dinucleotides. This feature is likely to be due to C-to-T mutations that have accumulated over hundreds of millions of years, driven by CG-specific DNA methyl transferases and spontaneous methyl-cytosine deamination. Many RNA viruses of vertebrates that are not(More)
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