Robert A. Lamb Kenneth F. Burgess Professor of Molecular Biosciences

Research Interests

Viral glycoproteins structure and function, viral membrane fusion, ion channels, RNA-binding proteins

The Lamb lab studies how two groups of viruses multiply.  Recent studies have contributed to the mechanism by which the influenza virus invades a host cell.  Studies (with Prof. Lawrence Pinto, Emeritus) revealed how the anti-viral drug, amantadine, worked by blocking the function of a viral ion channel necessary for virus replication.  The Lamb lab has also studied how influenza virus assembles itself from components at the surface of the cell in a region known as the viral "budozone."  These are specialized patches of membranes co-opted by the virus for its own assembly.  Understanding the mechanism of influenza virus assembly is important because it provides a target for the development of therapeutic agents.

Second, the Lamb lab studies the mechanism by which paramyxoviruses enter cells and assemble.  The paramyxoviruses are a large virus family that includes the measles virus, mumps virus, respiratory syncytial virus, and human parainfluenza viruses 1-5.  Dr. Lamb (in collaboration with Prof. Ted Jardetzky, Stanford University) has determined the atomic structure of several of the viral proteins (including the pre- and postfusion form of the fusion protein) that causes the virus membrane to fuse with the cell surface membrane.  This viral protein undergoes acrobatic changes to change its shape and drag the two membranes together.  Studies on the fusion protein of paramyxoviruses are directly applicable to studies on the envelope proteins of SARS coronavirus, HIV and Ebola virus.

Selected Publications

Structure and stabilization of the Hendra virus F glycoprotein in its prefusion form. Wong JJW, Paterson RG, Lamb RA, and Jardetzky TS. PNAS. 2016 January 26;113(4):1056-1061.

Structure of the paramyxovirus parainfluenza virus 5 nucleoprotein–RNA complex. Alayyoubi M, Leser GP, Kors CA, and Lamb RA. PNAS. 2015 April 7;112(14):E1792-E1799.

Influenza A Virus Uses Intercellular Connections to Spread to Neighboring Cells. Roberts KL, Manicassamy B, and Lamb RA. Journal of Virology. 2015 February;89(3):1537-1549.

Probing the paramyxovirus fusion (F) protein-refolding event from pre- to postfusion by oxidative footprintingPoor TA, Jones LM, Sood A, Leser GP, Plasencia MD, Rempel DL, Jardetzky TS, Woods RJ, Gross ML, and Lamb RA. PNAS. 2014 June 24;111(25):E2596-E2605.

Fusion Activation through Attachment Protein Stalk Domains Indicates a Conserved Core Mechanism of Paramyxovirus Entry into CellsBose S, Song AS, Jardetzky TS, and Lamb RA. Journal of Virology. 2014 April;88(8):3925-3941.

View all publications by Robert A. Lamb listed in the National Library of Medicine (PubMed). Current and former IBiS students in blue.