- Senior Investigator, Section on Viral Gene Regulation
Dr. Judith G. Levin is currently Head, Section on Viral Gene Regulation in the Program on Genomics of Differentiation, NICHD. She received a B.A. degree in Chemistry from Barnard College, an M.A. degree in Biochemistry from Harvard University, and a Ph.D. degree in Biochemistry from Columbia University. She has spent her entire professional career at the NIH, coming initially to work as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Marshall Nirenberg, where she performed studies on protein synthesis and the genetic code. Since the 1970s, Dr. Levin has been investigating the molecular mechanisms involved in retrovirus replication. In her early work, she studied murine leukemia virus (MLV) replication and made several novel discoveries: (i) MLV assembly proceeds in the absence of genomic RNA, although virions contain the full complement of viral proteins; (ii) MLV-infected cells contain two non-equilibrating pools of full-length viral RNA, one for encapsidation (short-lived) and the other functioning as the mRNA for the Gag precursor (long-lived), which rationalizes the earlier observation; and (iii) a series of papers defining the unique mechanism for MLV translational read-through suppression. The broad objective of Dr. Levin’s current research is to expand knowledge of HIV replication strategies and thereby contribute to development of new treatments for AIDS patients. She has studied the effects of mutations in the HIV-1 capsid protein on infectivity, viral core architecture, and reverse transcription. She has also had a long-standing interest and leadership role in research on the HIV-1 nucleocapsid protein (NC) and has made numerous contributions regarding the critical importance of NC function for specific and efficient reverse transcription. Recently, Dr. Levin has undertaken studies of the human APOBEC3 (A3) proteins, a family of cellular cytidine deaminases that function as restriction factors and are part of the innate response to infection by HIV-1 and other viruses. These studies target the molecular properties of the purified proteins and their relation to biological activity and protein structure.
- (2010). Role of HIV-1 nucleocapsid protein in HIV-1 reverse transcription. RNA Biology. 7(6), 754-774.
- (2009). Fidelity of plus-strand priming requires the nucleic acid chaperone activity of HIV-1 nucleocapsid protein. NUCLEIC ACIDS RESEARCH. 37(6), 1755-1766.
- (2009). HIV-1 Vif-mediated ubiquitination/degradation of APOBEC3G involves four critical lysine residues in its C-terminal domain. PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. 106(46), 19539-19544.