Professor Saul J. Silverstein   Phone : 212-305-8149   Fax : 212-305-5106   Email :

Professor Saul J. Silverstein
Phone: 212-305-8149
Fax: 212-305-5106

Saul J. Silverstein, Ph.D.

Professor of Microbiology & Immunology
Ph.D., University of Florida

Establishment, maintenance and reactivation from latency by varicella zoster virus

The laboratory uses Varicella Zoster virus (VZV) to study virus latency. VZV is the causative agent of chicken pox (Varicella) and shingles (zoster). Following the productive infection that results in varicella the virus takes up residence in the neurons of the dorsal root ganglia and lays in wait to reactivate from latency.

We are particularly interested in deciphering the steps that lead to establishment of latency and reactivation of dormant virus from latency to cause zoster. During latency VZV expresses a number of transcripts that encode regulatory proteins and other proteins that are important for virus DNA replication. These proteins accumulate in the nucleus during lytic replication of the virus. However, in latently infected neurons they are predominantly found in the cytoplasm. We are interested in understanding how the neuron selectively partitions these proteins to the cytoplasm. Towards that end we have developed in vitro systems that recapitulate the VZV life cycle. We use these systems to identify host proteins that interact with and regulate protein localization.

The laboratory is no longer accepting students.


Selected Publications

  1. Walters, M.S., Kinchington, P.R., Banfield, B.W. and Silverstein, S.J. (2010) Hyperphosphorylation of Histone Deacetylase 2 by Alphaherpesvirus US3 Kinases. J. Virol. 84: 9666-9676. [Download PDF]

  2. Walters, M.S., Kyratsous, C.A., and Silverstein, S.J. (2010) The RING Finger Domain of Varicella-Zoster Virus ORF61p has E3 Ubiquitin Ligase Activity That is Essential for Efficient Autoubiquitination and Dispersion of Sp100-Containing Nuclear Bodies. J. Virol. 84: 6861-6865. [Download PDF]

  3. Mueller, N.H., Walters, M.S., Marcus, R.A., Graf, L.L., Prenni, J., Gilden, D., Silverstein, S.J. and Cohrs, R.J. (2010) Identification of Phosphorylated Residues on Varicella-Zoster Virus Immediate-Early Protein ORF63 J. Gen. Virol. 91: 1133-1137. [Download PDF]

  4. Kyratsous, C.A., Walters, M.S., Panagiotidis, C.A. and Silverstein, S.J. (2009) Complementation of a Herpes Simplex Virus ICP0 null mutant by Varicella Zoster Virus ORF61p. J. Virol. 83: 10637-10643. [Download PDF]

  5. Walters, M.S., Erazo, A., Kinchington, P.R. and Silverstein, S.J. (2009) Histone Deacetylase 1 and 2 are Phosphorylated at Novel Sites During Varicella Zoster Virus Infection. J. Virol. 83: 11502-11513. [Download PDF]

  6. Kyratsous, C.A. and Silverstein, S.J. (2009) Components of Nuclear Domain 10 bodies Regulate Varicella Zoster Virus Replication. J. Virol. 83: 4262-4274. [Download PDF]

  7. Kyratsous, C.A., DeLong, C., Silverstein, S.J. and Panagiotidis, C.A. (2009) Chaperone-fusion Expression Plasmid Vectors for Improved Solubility of Recombinant Proteins in Escherichia coli. Gene 440: 9-15. [Download PDF]

  8. Kyratsous, C.A. and Silverstein, S.J. (2008) The co-chaperone BAG3 regulates Herpes Simplex Virus replication. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 105: 20912-20917. [Download PDF]

  9. Walters, M.S., Kyratsous, C.A., Wan, S. and Silverstein, S.J. (2008) Nuclear Import of the Varicella Zoster Virus Latency-Associated Protein ORF63 in Primary Neurons Requires Expression of the Lytic Protein ORF61 and Occurs in a Proteasome-Dependent Manner. J. Virol. 82: 8673-8686. [Download PDF]

  10. Kyratsous, C.A. and Silverstein, S.J. (2007) BAG3, a Host Co-chaperone, Facilitates Varicella Zoster Virus Replication. J. Virol. 81: 7491-7503. [Download PDF]

  11. Storrs, C.H. and Silverstein, S.J. (2007) PATJ a Tight Junction-Associated PDZ Protein is a Novel Degradation Target of High-Risk HPV E6 and the Alternatively Spliced Isoform 18 E6*. J. Virol.81: 4080-4090. [Download PDF]

  12. Stallings, C.L. and Silverstein, S.J. (2006) Posttranslational Modification and Cell-Type Specific Degradation of Varicella Zoster Virus ORF29p. J. Virol. 80: 10836-10846. [Download PDF]

  13. Schwartz, J.A., Brittle, E.E., Reynolds, A.E., Enquist, L.W. and Silverstein, S.J. (2006) UL54-Null Pseudorabies Virus Is Attenuated In Mice but Productively Infects Cells In Culture. J. Virol. 80:769-784. [Download PDF]

  14. Stallings, C.L., Duigou, G.J., Gershon, A.A., Gershon, M.D. and S.J. Silverstein. (2006) The Cellular Localization Pattern of Varicella Zoster Virus ORF29p is Influenced by Proteasome-Mediated Degradation. J. Virol. 80: 1497-1512. [Download PDF]

  15. Stallings, C.L. and Silverstein, S.J. (2005) Dissection of a Novel Nuclear Localization Signal in ORF29 of Varicella Zoster Virus. J. Virol. 79: 13070-13081. [Download PDF]