Department of Microbiology
Mount Sinai School of Medicine
New York, New York USA
Dr.Versteeg’s current research focuses on the 70+ member family of TRIM proteins. A few TRIM proteins had already been implicated in antiviral defense and innate immunity. However, by cloning and subsequent systematic analysis of all 75 human TRIMs, Dr.Versteeg has demonstrated that nearly half of them positively regulate innate immune responses. Subsequent knock-down analysis in non-immune cells and primary dendritic cells showed that most TRIM proteins function in different parts of the innate immune cascade and some of them are cell type specific. This work demonstrated for the first time such a prodigious dedication of a large protein family to the regulation of innate antiviral responses and supports the notion that many human TRIM proteins rapidly evolved and expanded as part of the innate immune system.
Dr. Versteeg has had a long-standing interest in investigating how viruses interact with their hosts and negate their innate immune responses. His bachelor’s work under the supervision of Dr. Willy Spaan at Leiden University (The Netherlands) focused on identify ing markers in hepatitis C virus that could predict the outcome of treatment with ribavirin and interferon. His master’s studies were conducted in the laboratory of Dr. Peter Sarnow at Stanford University and concentrated on translation regulation by cricket paralysis virus. In 2008, Dr. Versteeg received his Ph.D. from Leiden University after studying how coronaviruses regulate innate immune responses.
Following the unifying theme of virus-host interactions, Dr. Versteeg joined the group of Dr. Adolfo García-Sastre at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York in 2008. Here he has identified and characterized small-molecules that activate antiviral host responses, a report of which was recently accepted for publication in Nature Chemical Biology.