Microbiology & Immunology Faculty
Virginia L. Scofield, Ph.D.
Keywords: HIV, mucosal transmission, thyroid axis hormones, intestinal epithelial stem cells; the intestinal “thymus”
Dr. Scofield’s graduate work at the University of Texas at Austin identified central aspects of retrovirus-immune system interactions in birds. Her thesis work, published in 1998, was the first to identify a T-cell cytopathic retrovirus, prior to the identification of HIV in the early 1980’s.
For postdoctoral training at the Stanford University School of Medicine, she changed her research focus, working with sea animals called tunicates (see Images, below), which are related to the ancestors of all vertebrates. Her work identified and described the primary biological roles controlled by a histocompatibility gene locus that mediates self-nonself recognition in these animals.
In her own laboratory at the UCLA School of Medicine, Dr. Scofield extended these evolutionary studies into human disease. Her team demonstrated that the HIV virus binds to human sperm, that these sperm can carry HIV into susceptible target cells, and that sperm participate in the mucosal transfer of HiV during sexual contact (see Images, below).
This work is ongoing in her laboratory at the Medical Research Division of the Edinburg Regional Academic Health Center (E-RAHC).
At the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center at Science Park, Dr. Scofield began new studies of intestinal epithelial stem cells and their roles in ancient pathways, shared in tunicates (above) that govern the differentiation of intestinal T cells.
Parallel experiments are focused on the polypeptide components of the tunicate and vertebrate thyroid hormone control axes, and the roles they play in gut epithelial stem cell homeostasis, defense of the gut from microbial pathogens, and prevention of intestinal malignancies (see Images, below). This work is ongoing in the Scofield laboratory at the E-RAHC.
Dr. Scofield is the holder of US Patent #58004191, “Sperm as Immunogen Carriers”. This utility patent is for sperm-mediated vaginal delivery for vaccines and contraceptive agents.
- Scofield, VL, Yan M, Kuang X, Kim SJ, Crunk D, Wong P.K. The drug monosodium luminol (GVT) preserves thymic epithelial cell cytoarchitecture and allows thymocyte survival in mice infected with the T cell-tropic, cytopathic retrovirus ts1. Immunol. Lett. 122:159, 2009
- Scofield VL, Yan M, Kuang X, Kim SJ, Wong PKY. The drug monosodium luminol (GVT) preserves crypt-villus epithelial organization and allows survival of infected intestinal T cells in mice infected with the ts1 retrovirus. Immunol. Lett. 122:150, 2009
- Kuang X, Scofield VL, Yan M, Stoica G, Liu N, Wong PKY. Attentuation of oxidative stress, inflammation and apoptosis by minocycline prevents retrovirus neurodegeneration in mice. Brain Res.1286: 174, 2009
- Gionfriddo JR, Freeman KS, Groth A, Scofield VL, Alyahya K, Madl JE. a-luminol prevents decreases in glutamate, glutathione, and glutamine synthetase in the retinas of glaucomatous DBA/2J mice. Vet. Ophthalmol. 12: 325, 2009
- DaSilva EG, Gionfriddo JR, Hudachek SF, Gustafson DL, Olea-Popelka FJ, Scofield VL, Powell CC. Evaluation of the ocular penetration of topical alpha-luminol (Galavit/GVT®). Vet. Ophthalmol. 14: 180, 2011
- Sasindran SJ, Sakaralingam S. Scofield VL, Dhandayuthapani S. Biochemical and physiological characterization of the GTP-binding protein Obg of M. tuberculosis. BMC Microbiol. 11:43, 2011
- Kuang X, Yan M, Ajmo JM, Scofield VL, Stoica G, Wong PKY. Activation of AMP-activated protein kinase in cerebella of Atm-/- mice is attributable to accumulation of reactive oxygen species. Bioch. Biophys. Res. Comm. 418: 267, 2012
- Cheng B, Martinez AA, Morado J, Scofield VL, Roberts JL, Maffi SK. Retinoic acid protects against proteasome inhibition-associated cell death in SH-SY5Y cells via the AKT pathway. Neurochemistry International 62, 31, 2013
- Liu Z, Cheng B, Scofield VL, Schain A, Blum M, Roberts JL. Disturbed interleukin-1 receptor signaling disrupts dopaminergic axonal recovery in the MPTP Parkinson’s disease mouse model. In revision for re-review by J Biol Chem, 2013
- Das K, De la Garza K. Whitworth TJ, Scofield VL* and Dhandayuthapani S.* Mycoplasma genitalium promotes epithelial crossing and PBMC infection by R5 HIV-1. In revision for re-review by PLoS One, 2013 *Two Corresponding Authors
- Cheng B, Kuang A, Scofield VL. Thyroid axis hormones act in local feedback loops in rat intestines. Submitted to PLoS One, 2013
- Gionfriddo JR, Wong PKY, Madl JR, Scofield VL. The antioxidant a-luminol protects retinal ganglion neurons of DBA/2J mice and prevents development of glaucoma: a protective role for Nrf2 made in Muller astrocytes. In preparation.