Shaw M. Akula

Shaw M. Akula

Associate Professor

B.V.Sc., Veterinary College and Research Institute, India
M.V.Sc., Madras Veterinary College, India
Ph.D., South Dakota State University

Phone: 252-744-2702
Fax: 252-744-3104


Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpes virus (KSHV) or human herpesvirus-8 (HHV-8), a member of the γ2-herpesvirus family (genus Rhadinovirus), is involved in the pathogenesis of Kaposi's sarcoma (KS), primary effusion lymphoma and a subset of multicentric Castleman disease. KSHV was first described in KS lesion by representational difference analysis. KSHV associated diseases occur in HIV negative as well as HIV positive patients around the world. KS is often times referred to as AIDS-defining illness. Advances in virus biology (includes both herpes viruses and others) have been made by the use of virus specific target cells and analyzing different stages of the virus infectious process, critical signaling cascades induced by the virus, and those cellular signals that benefit the virus infection. However, there is very little information available on the role(s) of microRNA (miRNA) on virus entry, infection, and pathogenesis. My lab's primary focus is on:

I. Understanding the mechanism by which microRNAs (miRNAs) alter KSHV infection and mediated pathogenesis. MicroRNAs are one of the main classes of non-coding RNAs. These are small non-coding RNAs that regulate expression of genes in cells. The human genome encodes thousands of miRNAs. Of late, miRNAs have emerged as a pivotal component of host cell responses to a pathogen including viruses, bacteria, and fungi.

II. Understanding the role of miRNAs in HIV-associated pathogenesis. This part of the study is being pursued in collaboration with Paul Cook, MD (Chief, Division of Infectious Diseases; We use human participants to unearth the role for miRNAs indicating the outcome of infection with HIV and other AIDS-associated pathogens.

The long-term goals are, (1) understanding certain unexplained facets of virus entry and replication using in vitro and in vivo models; and (2) developing anti-viral/anti-cancer therapies based on targeting specific signaling molecule(s).


Popular works

A GUIDE to PhD Success. Akula SM. 2012.

Beyond the Future. Akula SM. 2014

Scientific peer-reviewed works

Hussein HAM, Akula SM. 2017. miRNA-36 inhibits KSHV, EBV, HSV-2 infection of cells via stifling expression of interferon induced transmembrane protein 1 (IFITM1). Scientific Reports (In Press).

Hussein HAM, Akula SM. 2017. Profiling of cellular microRNA responses during the early stages of KSHV infection. Arch Virol. 162:3293-3303.

P.P. Cook, A.T. Stang, L.R. Walker, S.M. Akula, F.J. Cook, Bone mineral density and vitamin D levels in HIV African-American subjects receiving Tenofovir, Emtricitabine, Efavirenz versus Raltegravir, Darunavir, Ritonavir. South Med J (2016; In Press).

Hussein, A.M.H., Walker, L.R. and Akula, S.M. 2016. KSHV gB associated RGD interactions promote attachment of cells by inhibiting the potential migratory signals induced by the disintegrin-like domain. BMC Cancer 16:148-165.

Walker, L.R., Hussein, A.M.H., and Akula, S.M. 2015. Subcellular fractionation method to study endosomal trafficking of Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus. Cell Biosci 6:1-10.

Walker, L.R., Hussein, A.M.H., and Akula, S.M. 2014. Disintegrin-like domain of glycoprotein B regulates Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus infection of cells. J Gen Virol 95:1770-82.

Grange, P., Gressier, L., Williams, J.F., Dyson, O.F., Akula, S.M., and Dupin, N. 2012. Cloning a human saliva-derived peptide for preventing KSHV transmission. Journal of Investigative Dermatology 132(6):1733-5.

Dyson, O.F., Walker, L.R., Whitehouse, A., Cook, P.P., and Akula S.M. 2012. Resveratrol Inhibits KSHV Reactivation by Lowering the Levels of Cellular EGR-1. PLoS One 7(3):e33364.

Dyson, O.F., Traylen, C., and Akula, S. M. 2010. Cell membrane bound KSHV encoded gB promotes virus latency by regulating expression of cellular Egr-1. J. Biol. Chem. 285(48):37491-37502.

Dyson, O.F., Ford, P.W., Chen, D., Li, Y-Q., and Akula, S.M. 2009. Raman tweezers provide the fingerprint of cells supporting the late stages of KSHV reactivation. J. Cell. Mol. Med. 13:1920-1932.

Whitman, A.G., Dyson, O.F., Lambert, P.J., Oxendine, T.L., Ford, P.W., and Akula, S.M. 2007. Changes occurring on the cell surface during KSHV reactivation. J. Electron Microsc. 56:27-36.

Ford, P.W., Bryan, A.B., Dyson, O.F., Weidner, D.A., Chintalgattu, V., and Akula, S.M. 2006. RAF/MEK/ERK signalling triggers reactivation of Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus latency. J. Gen. Virol. 87:1139-1144.

Bryan, B.A., Dyson, O.F., and Akula, S.M. 2006.Identifying Cellular Genes Crucial for the Reactivation of Kaposi's Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus Latency. J. Gen. Virol. 87:519-529.

Akula, S.M., Ford, P.W., Whitman, A.G., Hamden, K.E., Bryan, B.A., Cook, P.P., and McCubrey, J.A. 2005. Raf Induces Expression of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor in Kaposi's Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus Infected Human B cells. Blood 105(11): 4516-4522.

Hamden, K.H., Ford, P.W., Whitman, A.G., Dyson, O.F., Cheng, S.Y., McCubrey, J.A., and Akula, S.M. 2004.Raf induced Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Augments Kaposi's Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus (KSHV/HHV-8) Infection. J. Virol 78(23):13381-13390.

Akula, S.M.,Ford, P.W., Whitman, A.G., Hamden, K.H., Shelton, J.G., and McCubrey, J.A.2004.Raf promotes human herpesvirus-8 (HHV-8/KSHV) infection. Oncogene 23(30):5227-5241.

Akula, S.M., Pramod, N.P., Sharma-Walia, N, Wang, F-Z., Fegley, B., and Chandran, B.2003.Kaposi's Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus (KSHV/HHV-8) Infection of Human Fibroblast Cells Occurs Through Endocytosis. J. Virol. 77(14):7978-7990.

Akula, S.M., Pramod, N.P., Wang, F-Z., and Chandran, B.2002.Integrin alpha3beta1 (CD 49c/29) is a cellular receptor for Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV/HHV-8) entry into the target cells. Cell 108(3):407-419.


View entire list of publications


Name Title Location Phone
Psyk, StevenGrad StudentBrody 5N99 / 136252-744-2727 or 252-744-2725
Okafor, IkennaStudentBrody 5N99 / 136252-744-2727 or 252-744-2725
Williams, John Research Specialist Brody 5N-99 / 136 252-744-2727 or 252-744-2725