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Xiao Heng, PhD
Associate Professor
University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources
PhD, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
BS, Biotechnology, Nanjing University (China)

Mailing Address:
Columbia , MO

Research Interests

NMR investigations of RNA structures and virus:host interactions in HIV-1 replication

The main research interest in the Heng lab is to understand the structure of viral RNA and the structural basis of virus: host interactions to begin to decipher the mechanism of HIV-1 viral replication.

DHX9 / RNA helicase A (RHA) is a host factor that influences HIV-1 replication in many steps. It co-assembles with viral RNA genome to support viral infectivity. The Heng lab recently reported that the RHA recruitment during virus assembly is mediated by the interactions between the N-terminal domain of RHA and the RNA elements near the primer binding site (PBS) in the 5′-UTR of the viral RNA genome. A variety of biophysical techniques including NMR spectroscopy, small angle X-ray scattering and isothermal titration calorimetry are employed to study the RNA structural elements important for RHA recruitment. The lab is also investigating the function of RHA during reverse transcription to unraveling its role during the early replication steps.


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