Alexander G. Pletnev, Ph.D., D.Sci.
Neurotropic Flaviviruses Section
Building 33, Room 3W10A
33 North Drive
Bethesda, MD 20892
Flaviviruses, such as mosquito-borne West Nile, St. Louis encephalitis, and Japanese encephalitis viruses and tick-borne encephalitis viruses, are important neurotropic human pathogens, causing a devastating and often fatal neuroinfection. During the past two decades, both mosquito- and tick-borne flaviviruses have emerged in new geographic areas of the world where they were not previously endemic and have caused outbreaks of diseases in humans and domestic animals. Despite many attempts, licensed, safe, and effective live virus vaccines against these neurotropic viruses are not available.
The main goal and objective of our research projects is the development of safe live, attenuated virus vaccines that will be effective in preventing diseases caused by the highly virulent neurotropic viruses of the Flaviviridae family: tick-borne encephalitis virus, West Nile virus, and St. Louis encephalitis virus.
Dr. Pletnev earned his Ph.D. in 1983 in chemistry from the Russian Academy of Sciences, studying RNA polymerases. Following postdoctoral research at the Novosibirsk Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry, he served as chief of the laboratory of radiochemistry and the laboratory of molecular virology from 1984 to 1993 and became a professor in molecular biology in 1993. In 1990, he received his doctorate of sciences degree in biochemistry and molecular biology from the Russian Academy of Sciences. He joined the Laboratory of Infectious Diseases in 1993 as a visiting scientist and became a senior investigator in 2005.
Maximova OA, Bernbaum JG, Pletnev AG. West Nile Virus Spreads Transsynaptically within the Pathways of Motor Control: Anatomical and Ultrastructural Mapping of Neuronal Virus Infection in the Primate Central Nervous System. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2016;10(9):e0004980.
Tsetsarkin KA, Liu G, Shen K, Pletnev AG. Kissing-loop interaction between 5' and 3' ends of tick-borne Langat virus genome 'bridges the gap' between mosquito- and tick-borne flaviviruses in mechanisms of viral RNA cyclization: applications for virus attenuation and vaccine development. Nucleic Acids Res. 2016;44(7):3330-50.
Pierce KK, Whitehead SS, Kirkpatrick BD, Grier PL, Jarvis A, Kenney H, Carmolli MP, Reynolds C, Tibery CM, Lovchik J, Janiak A, Luke CJ, Durbin AP, Pletnev AG. A Live Attenuated Chimeric West Nile Virus Vaccine, rWN/DEN4Δ30, Is Well Tolerated and Immunogenic in Flavivirus-Naive Older Adult Volunteers. J Infect Dis. 2017;215(1):52-55.
Tsetsarkin KA, Kenney H, Chen R, Liu G, Manukyan H, Whitehead SS, Laassri M, Chumakov K, Pletnev AG. A Full-Length Infectious cDNA Clone of Zika Virus from the 2015 Epidemic in Brazil as a Genetic Platform for Studies of Virus-Host Interactions and Vaccine Development. MBio. 2016;7(4).
Tsetsarkin KA, Liu G, Kenney H, Hermance M, Thangamani S, Pletnev AG. Concurrent micro-RNA mediated silencing of tick-borne flavivirus replication in tick vector and in the brain of vertebrate host. Sci Rep. 2016;6:33088.
Related Scientific Focus Areas
Microbiology and Infectious Diseases
This page was last updated on May 23rd, 2017