Micah Alan Luftig, PhD

Associate Professor of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology
Vice-Chair in the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology
Associate Professor of Medicine
Associate Professor of Immunology
Member of the Duke Cancer Institute
Campus mail 213 Research Dr, CARL 0036, Box 3054, Durham, NC 27710
Phone (919) 668-3091
Email address micah.luftig@duke.edu

The laboratory focuses on the mechanisms by which Epstein-Barr virus activates and ultimately subverts the host oncogenic stress response to growth transform primary B lymphocytes into indefinitely proliferating lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs). EBV infection of B cells leads to a latent growth program where eight viral proteins and several non-coding RNAs are expressed. Among these gene products, latent membrane protein 1 (LMP1) and Epstein-Barr virus nuclear antigen (EBNA) 2 are the core transforming oncogenes. These proteins are capable of driving B cell proliferation and act to suppress the apoptotic response induced by aberrant S phase induction. The goals of the laboratory include: i) understanding the host pathways that respond to and suppress EBV-mediated growth transformation, ii) understanding the viral gene products important for activating the oncogenic stress response and ultimately overcoming this response, and iii) identifying and characterizing a cell population within the CD21-expressing primary B cell population that has an increased susceptibility to oncogenic stress.

The biochemical and genetic analyses of these pathways will provide valuable insight into our understanding of oncogenes and oncogenic viruses and the host cell response to such insults. Further, detailed understanding of the virus/host interaction may allow for the identification of specific pathways for therapeutic intervention in EBV-associated malignancies and possibly more broadly in malignancies which rely on similar pathways for their proliferation, survival, or self-renewal.

Education and Training

  • Ph.D., Harvard University , 2003

Publications

Messinger, Joshua E., Joanne Dai, Lyla J. Stanland, Alexander M. Price, and Micah A. Luftig. “Identification of Host Biomarkers of Epstein-Barr Virus Latency IIb and Latency III..” Mbio 10, no. 4 (July 2, 2019). https://doi.org/10.1128/mBio.01006-19.

PMID
31266868
Full Text

Stanland, L. J., and M. A. Luftig. “Molecular features and translational outlook for Epstein-Barr virus-associated gastric cancer.” Future Virology 13, no. 11 (November 1, 2018): 803–18. https://doi.org/10.2217/fvl-2018-0071.

Full Text

Dai, Joanne, and Micah A. Luftig. “Intracellular BH3 Profiling Reveals Shifts in Antiapoptotic Dependency in Human B Cell Maturation and Mitogen-Stimulated Proliferation..” J Immunol 200, no. 5 (March 1, 2018): 1727–36. https://doi.org/10.4049/jimmunol.1701473.

PMID
29358277
Full Text

Price, Alexander M., Joshua E. Messinger, and Micah A. Luftig. “c-Myc Represses Transcription of Epstein-Barr Virus Latent Membrane Protein 1 Early after Primary B Cell Infection..” J Virol 92, no. 2 (January 15, 2018). https://doi.org/10.1128/JVI.01178-17.

PMID
29118124
Full Text

Hafez, Amy Y., and Micah A. Luftig. “Characterization of the EBV-Induced Persistent DNA Damage Response..” Viruses 9, no. 12 (December 1, 2017). https://doi.org/10.3390/v9120366.

PMID
29194355
Full Text

Poling, Brigid Chiyoko, Alexander M. Price, Micah A. Luftig, and Bryan R. Cullen. “The Epstein-Barr virus miR-BHRF1 microRNAs regulate viral gene expression in cis..” Virology 512 (December 2017): 113–23. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.virol.2017.09.015.

PMID
28950226
Full Text

Grossman, Lisa, Chris Chang, Joanne Dai, Pavel A. Nikitin, Dereje D. Jima, Sandeep S. Dave, and Micah A. Luftig. “Epstein-Barr Virus Induces Adhesion Receptor CD226 (DNAM-1) Expression during Primary B-Cell Transformation into Lymphoblastoid Cell Lines..” Msphere 2, no. 6 (November 2017). https://doi.org/10.1128/mSphere.00305-17.

PMID
29202043
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Hafez, A. Y., J. E. Messinger, K. McFadden, G. Fenyofalvi, C. N. Shepard, G. M. Lenzi, B. Kim, and M. A. Luftig. “Limited nucleotide pools restrict Epstein-Barr virus-mediated B-cell immortalization..” Oncogenesis 6, no. 6 (June 12, 2017). https://doi.org/10.1038/oncsis.2017.46.

PMID
28604764
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Price, Alexander M., Joanne Dai, Quentin Bazot, Luv Patel, Pavel A. Nikitin, Reza Djavadian, Peter S. Winter, et al. “Epstein-Barr virus ensures B cell survival by uniquely modulating apoptosis at early and late times after infection..” Elife 6 (April 20, 2017). https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.22509.

PMID
28425914
Full Text

Pages