Harvard Medical School

Contact Information:

Dept. of Microbiology and Immunobiology
Harvard Medical School
NRB 939I
77 Avenue Louis Pasteur
Boston, MA 02115

email: Jonathan_Abraham@hms.harvard.edu


Research Summary

Our laboratory uses methods in molecular biology, immunology, and structural biology to study host-pathogen interactions with the goal of informing strategies aimed at treating or preventing infection.

Several enveloped RNA viruses cause human viral hemorrhagic fevers with limited vaccine and treatment options. Infection by the New World arenavirus Junin is reliably treated with neutralizing-antibody containing immune plasma transfusions (‘passive immunity’). Using this approach to treat Ebola virus infection has yielded mixed results. We are dissecting, at the molecular level, features of both the viruses (e.g. surface glycoprotein architecture and epitope accessibility) and hosts (e.g. antibody neutralizing and non-neutralizing effector functions) that may explain how to best adapt passive immunity to treat emerging viral infections. Pathogens we study include arena-, filo-, flavi-, and hantaviruses.

We use methods that span many disciplines including molecular biology, X-crystallography, electron microscopy, immunology, pseudotype viral entry assays, and efficacy studies in relevant animal models (through collaborations).

Selected Publications

Mahmutovic S, Clark L, Levis SC, Briggiler AM, Enria DA, Harrison SC, Abraham J. Molecular basis for antibody-mediated neutralization of New World hemorrhagic fever mammarenaviruses. Cell Host & Microbe. 2015; 18(6):705-13. PMID: 26651946

Demogines A, Abraham J, Choe H, Farzan M, Sawyer SL. Dual host-virus arms races shape an essential housekeeping protein. PLoS Biology. 2013; 11(5):e1001571. PMID: 23723737

Abraham J, Corbett KD, Farzan M, Choe H, Harrison SC. Structural basis for receptor recognition by New World hemorrhagic fever arenaviruses. Nature Structural & Molecular Biology. 2010; 17(4):438-44. PMID: 20208545

Hood CL, Abraham J, Boyington JC, Leung K, Kwong PD, Nabel GJ. Biochemical and structural characterization of cathepsin L-processed Ebola virus glycoprotein: implications for viral entry and immunogenicity. Journal of Virology. 2010; 84(6):2972-82. PMID: 20053739

Abraham J*, Kwong JA*, Albariño CG, Lu JG, Radoshitzky SR, Salazar-Bravo J, Farzan M, Spiropoulou CF, Choe H. Host-species transferrin receptor 1 orthologs are cellular receptors for nonpathogenic new world clade B arenaviruses. PLoS pathogens. 2009; 5(4):e1000358. PMID: 19343214

Radoshitzky SR*, Abraham J*, Spiropoulou CF, Kuhn JH, Nguyen D, Li W, Nagel J, Schmidt PJ, Nunberg JH, Andrews NC, Farzan M, Choe H. Transferrin receptor 1 is a cellular receptor for New World haemorrhagic fever arenaviruses. Nature. 2007; 446(7131):92-6. PMID: 17287727

Pubmed link for full list of publications: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/myncbi