Elde Lab

department of human genetics

UNIVERSITY

OF UTAH

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We are interested in cases where pathogens use mimicry to disrupt host processes. Mimicry is observed widely in nature (e.g. Batesian mimicry among butterfly species).  However, little is known about how molecular mimicry impacts host-pathogen interactions.  Pathogens use the strategy of mimicry to interfere with immunity and co-opt a wide variety of host processes to their advantage.  This poses a conundrum for hosts to maintain critical activities while not being exploited by pathogenic mimics honed to divert host functions.  What then are the evolutionary prospects for hosts to counteract mimics?

pathogen-driven evolution

arms races

mimicry

experimental evolution

evolutionary genetics & cell biology

A swallowtail butterfly next to the crystal structure of a virus encoded mimic of a kinase substrate