Division of Infection and Immunity


Professor Ariberto Fassati

Professor of Cellular and Molecular Virology


In my lab, we study two pathogens that have a remarkable ability to evade the immune system, namely HIV-1 and the canine transmissible venereal tumour CTVT.

Research summary

We investigate druggable host factors that regulate HIV-1 latency with the aim of inducing long-term remission of HIV-1 infection. We use a variety of approaches such as chemical genetics, high through put screenings, gene expression analysis and 3D chromatin analysis precisely to understand the mechanisms by which the druggable host factors influence HIV-1 latency.

We also have a long-standing interest in CTVT, one of three clonally transmissible allogeneic cancers in nature. We study the interactions between this tumour and the host immune system and how tolerance to CTVT is broken, leading to its regression. We investigate how cancer can evolve to bypass the histocompatibility barrier. Here, the aim is to develop new tools to minimize allotransplant rejection.

Selected publications

  1. Wiche Salinas TR, Zhang Y, Sarnello D, Zhyvoloup A, Marchand LR, Fert A, Planas D, Lodha M, Chatterjee D, Karwacz K, Oxenford S, Routy JP, Irlbeck D, Amrine-Madsen H, Ancuta P and Fassati A. Th17 cell master transcription factor RORC2 regulates HIV-1 gene expression and viral outgrowth. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2021 Nov 30;118(48):e2105927118.
  2. Monit C, Morris ER, Ruis C, Szafran B, Thiltgen G, Tsai MC, Mitchison NA, Bishop KN, Stoye JP, Taylor IA, Fassati A*, Goldstein RA*. Positive selection in dNTPase SAMHD1 throughout mammalian evolution. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019 Sep 10;116(37):18647-18654. *Joint senior authors
  3. Frampton D, Schwenzer H, Marino G, Butcher LM, Pollara G, Kriston-Vizi J, Venturini C, Austin R, de Castro KF, Ketteler R, Chain B, Goldstein RA, Weiss RA, Beck S, and Fassati A. Molecular Signatures of Regression of the Canine Transmissible Venereal Tumor. Cancer Cell. 2018 Apr 9;33(4):620-633.e6.
  4. Zhyvoloup A, Melamed A, Anderson I, Planas D, Lee CH, Kriston-Vizi J, Ketteler R, Merritt A, Routy JP, Ancuta P, Bangham CRM, and Fassati A. Digoxin reveals a functional connection between HIV-1 integration preference and T-cell activation. PLoS Pathog. 2017 Jul 20;13(7):e1006460.
  5. Chen NY, Zhou L, Gane PJ, Opp S, Ball NJ, Nicastro G, Zufferey M, Buffone C, Luban J, Selwood D, Diaz-Griffero F, Taylor I, and Fassati A. HIV-1 capsid is involved in post-nuclear entry steps. Retrovirology. 2016 Apr 23;13:28.
  6. Anderson I, Low JS, Weston S, Weinberger M, Zhyvoloup A, Labokha AA, Corazza G, Kitson RA, Moody CJ, Marcello A and Fassati A. Heat shock protein 90 controls HIV-1 reactivation from latency. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 Ap 15;111(15):E1528-37.
  7. Bestembayeva A, Kramer A, Labokha AA, Osmanović D, Liashkovich I, Orlova EV, Ford IJ, Charras G, Fassati A*, Hoogenboom BW*. Nanoscale stiffness topography reveals structure and mechanics of the transport barrier in intact nuclear pore complexes. Nature Nanotechnol. 2015 Jan;10(1):60-64.*joint senior authors
  8. Murchison EP, Wedge DC, Alexandrov LB, Fu B, Martincorena I, Ning Z, Tubio JMC, Werner EI, Allen J, De Nardi AB, Donelan EM, Marino G, Fassati A, Campbell PJ, Yang F, Burt A, Weiss RA, Stratton MR. Transmissible dog cancer genome reveals the origin and history of an ancient cell lineage. Science. 2014 Jan 24;343(6169):437-440.
  9. Zhou L, Sokolskaja E, Jolly C, James W, Cowley SA, and Fassati A. Transportin 3 promotes a nuclear maturation step required for efficient HIV-1 integration. PLoS Pathog. 2011 Aug;7(8):e1002194.
  10. Vozzolo L, Loh B, Gane PJ, Tribak M, Zhou L, Anderson I, Nyakatura E, Jenner RG, Selwood D, Fassati A. Gyrase B inhibitor impairs HIV-1 replication by targeting Hsp90 and the capsid protein. J Biol Chem. 2010 Dec 10;285(50):39314-28.
  11. Zaitseva L, Myers R, Fassati A. tRNAs promote nuclear import of HIV-1 intracellular reverse transcription complexes. PLoS Biol. 2006 Oct;4(10):e332. PubMed PMID: 17020411.
  12. Murgia C, Pritchard JK, Kim SY, Fassati A, Weiss RA. Clonal origin and evolution of a transmissible cancer. Cell. 2006 Aug 11;126(3):477-87. PubMed PMID: 16901782.

A full list of publications can be accessed via PubMed.