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Alexander G. Pletnev, Ph.D., D.Sci.
Building 33, Room 3W10A
33 North Drive
Bethesda, MD 20892-3203
Phone: 301-402-7754
Fax: 301-480-0501
apletnev@niaid.nih.gov

Laboratory of Infectious Diseases

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Alexander G. Pletnev, Ph.D., D.Sci.

Photo of Alexander G. Pletnev, Ph.D., D.Sci.

Chief, Neurotropic Flaviviruses Section, LID

Major Areas of Research

  • Study of pathogenesis of flavivirus infection in the central nervous system
  • Development of novel approaches to restrict flavivirus neurotropism
  • Generation of attenuated vaccine candidates against disease caused by highly virulent neurotropic flaviviruses and evaluation of their safety, immunogenicity, and protective efficacy in animal models in preclinical studies, as well as assessment of safety for environment
  • Evaluation of safety and immunogenicity of live attenuated vaccine candidates in human clinical trials
 

Program Description

Flaviviruses, such as mosquito-borne West Nile, St. Louis encephalitis, and Japanese encephalitis viruses and tick-borne encephalitis viruses, are important neurotropic human pathogens, causing a devastating and often fatal neuroinfection. During the past two decades, both mosquito- and tick-borne flaviviruses have emerged in new geographic areas of the world where they were not previously endemic and have caused outbreaks of diseases in humans and domestic animals. Despite many attempts, licensed, safe, and effective live virus vaccines against these neurotropic viruses are not available.

The main goal and objective of our research projects is the development of safe live, attenuated virus vaccines that will be effective in preventing diseases caused by the highly virulent neurotropic viruses of the Flaviviridae family: tick-borne encephalitis virus, West Nile virus, and St. Louis encephalitis virus.

Biography

Dr. Pletnev earned his Ph.D. in 1983 in chemistry from the Russian Academy of Sciences, studying RNA polymerases. Following postdoctoral research at the Novosibirsk Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry, he served as chief of the laboratory of radiochemistry and the laboratory of molecular virology from 1984 to 1993 and became a professor in molecular biology in 1993. In 1990, he received his doctorate of sciences degree in biochemistry and molecular biology from the Russian Academy of Sciences. He joined the Laboratory of Infectious Diseases in 1993 as a visiting scientist and became a senior investigator in 2005.

Research Group

Guangping Liu
Olga Maximova
Natalia Teterina

Selected Publications

Heiss BL, Maximova OA, Thach DC, Speicher JM, Pletnev AG. MicroRNA targeting of neurotropic flavivirus: effective control of virus escape and reversion to neurovirulent phenotype. J Virol. 2012 May;86(10):5647-59.

Engel AR, Mitzel DN, Hanson CT, Wolfinbarger JB, Bloom ME, Pletnev AG. Chimeric tick-borne encephalitis/dengue virus is attenuated in Ixodes scapularis ticks and Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis. 2011 Jun;11(6):665-74.

Heiss BL, Maximova OA, Pletnev AG. Insertion of microRNA targets into the flavivirus genome alters its highly neurovirulent phenotype. J Virol. 2011 Feb;85(4):1464-72. 

Maximova OA, Murphy BR, Pletnev AG. High-throughput automated image analysis of neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration enables quantitative assessment of virus neurovirulence. Vaccine. 2010 Dec 6;28(52):8315-26.

Engle AR, Rumyantsev AA, Maximova OA, Speicher JM, Heiss B, Murphy BR, Pletnev AG. The neurovirulence and neuroinvasiveness of chimeric tick-borne encephalitis/dengue virus can be attenuated by introducing defined mutations into the envelope and NS5 protein genes and the 3' non-coding region of the genome. Virology. 2010 Sep 15;405(1):243-52.

Maximova OA, Faucette LJ, Ward JM, Murphy BR, Pletnev AG. Cellular inflammatory response to flaviviruses in the central nervous system of a primate host. J Histochem Cytochem. 2009 Oct;57(10):973-89.

Visit PubMed for a complete publication listing.

Patents

Pletnev A, Chanock RM, inventors; The United States of America as represented by the Department of Health and Human Services, assignee. Full-length infectious cDNA clones of tick borne flavivirus. United States patent US 6,794,174. 21 Sep 2004.

Lai CJ, Bray M, Pletnev AG, Men R, Zhang YM, Eckels KH, Chanock RM, inventors; The United States of America as represented by the Department of Health and Human Services, assignee. Chimeric and/or growth-restricted flaviviruses. United States patent US 6,676,936. 13 Jan 2004.

Pletnev A, Men R, Chanock RM, Lai CJ, inventors; The United States of America as represented by the Department of Health and Human Services, assignee. Chimeric vaccine against tick-borne encephalitis virus. United States patent US 6,660,273. 9 Dec 2003.

Pletnev A, Men R, Chanock RM, Lai CJ, inventors; The United States of America as represented by the Department of Health and Human Services, assignee. Chimeric vaccine against tick-borne encephalitis virus. United States patent US 6,497,884. 24 Dec 2002.

Lai CJ, Bray M, Pletnev AG, Men R, Zhang YM, Eckels KH, Chanock RM, inventors; The United States of America as represented by the Department of Health and Human Services, assignee. Chimeric and/or growth-restricted flaviviruses. United States patent US 6,184,024. 6 Feb 2001.

Last Updated June 05, 2012

Last Reviewed June 05, 2012