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Dr Noreen Sheehy


Noreen Sheehy

Lecturer/Assistant Professor
School of Medicine
01 716 1255
University College Dublin, School of Medicine, CRID Belfield Dublin 4


My research area is Molecular Virology and specifically relates to the investigation of the pathogenesis of the human retroviruses human T cell leukemia viruses types 1 and 2 (HTLV-1 and HTLV-2, respectively). HTLV-1 causes adult T cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATLL) and chronic inflammatory disorders while HTLV-2 infection is not linked with specific virus related diseases. One key question that still remains unanswered despite intensive research in this area over the past 35 years is why HTLV-1 gives rise to disease while its closely related counter part HTLV-2 is not clearly associated with cancer development. The identification and characterization of key virus/host interactions that contribute to ATLL in individuals infected with HTLV-1 but not HTLV-2 has been the focus of much my HTLV research to date. The overall goal of such work is not only to provide insights into the different clinical outcomes of HTLV infections but also to identify and characterize key cellular players in ATLL development, which is of great interest to those hoping to develop novel cancer therapeutics. Specific research interests 1. Regulation of cellular signalling pathways by HTLV Tax, HBZ and APH-2 regulatory proteins 2. Investigation of the pathogenesis of leukemia/lymphoma development in Tax transgenic ATLL mouse animal model 3. Characterization of novel HTLV /cellular protein/protein interactions Using a combination of mutational studies and viral /cellular promoter assays we have extensively characterized the role of HTLV Tax oncogenic proteins in the deregulation of cellular signalling pathways. The findings from these studies may in the future help in the development of innovative therapies that specifically target such signalling pathways. Our host/viral protein protein interaction and functional studies have shown that HTLV proteins disrupt the