Analyzing Ethnic Disparities of HSV Infections via HVEM

Maame Ackon, Bai Bangura, Kayla Sykes, and Tyesha N. Burks Department of Natural Sciences, Bowie State University, Bowie, Maryland 20715

Glycoprotein D (gD) is specifically defined as a structural component on the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) envelope, which is responsible for viral entry into the host cell using the Herpes Virus Entry Mediator (HVEM). HVEM is permissive for many strands of HSV, including HSV1 and HSV2. HSV2 is a contagious disease, which is sexually transmittable and causes genital herpes. HSV1 is also contagious, is transmitted orally, and causes sores around the mouth and lips, usually referred to as cold sores. Independent of sexual behavior, HSV is infecting African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans at an alarming rate and there is currently no vaccine for the virus. The purpose of our research was to determine if there are any single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the gene TNFRSF14 that encodes HVEM in ethnic groups that affect their susceptibility to HSV infections. We hypothesized that the more prone an ethnic group is to HSV infection, the more variants would exist in the gene.  Using Ensembl, we compared the variants found in TNFRSF14 between African-Americans, Caucasian-Americans, and Hispanic-Americans.  We identified the most variants in Caucasian-Americans and the least variants in Hispanic-Americans.  Based on our data, we concluded that the presence of many gene variants makes an ethnic group less susceptible to HSV infections; conversely, the lack of variants makes an individual more susceptible.  Overall, this research raises awareness of ethnic disparities that exist in HSV and highlights the need to further investigate the effects of viral infections among different ethnic groups.

Additional Abstract Information

Presenters: Maame Ackon, Bai Bangura , Kayla Sykes

Institution: Bowie State University

Type: Poster

Subject: Biology

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Poster 3
Date/Time: Mon 4:30pm-5:30pm
Session Number: 3106