Marc Johnson, PhD


Marc Johnson, PhD researches retroviral assembly, a biological process involving multiple viral and cellular actors from diverse locations within the cell. These actors converge at defined assembly sites to create and facilitate the egress of an infectious viral particle. Dr. Johnson utilizes the model retrovirus HIV‐1 to study the basic viral components targeted to viral assembly sites, including how cellular processes are usurped to aid in this process. Dr. Johnson’s lab is studying how viruses target their cytoplasmic structural proteins to the same assembly sites as their trans‐ membrane targeting/fusion glycoproteins. Research has led to the theory that viruses utilize a common glycoprotein targeting pathway/mechanism to drive viral incorporation. A better understanding of this process could lead to novel therapeutics against viruses as well as enhanced ability to custom design viruses for use in precision medicine applications. Additionally, Dr. Johnson’s lab studies the HIV-1 accessory protein Vpu. Inhibitors of Vpu activity could be an important component of therapies aimed at eliminating reservoirs of HIV infected cells (cure). Dr. Johnson’s lab has found that Vpu targets the viral glycoprotein from Gibbon ape Leukemia Virus (GaLV Env) and prevents it from being incorporated into HIV-1 viral particles. Dr. Johnson is currently developing several small molecules with anti-Vpu activity as potential therapeutics for HIV-1 infected patients.

Academic Information



471C Bond Life Sciences Center
Columbia, MO 65211
United States

P. 573-882-1519

Research Interests

  • Virology and Molecular Therapies
  • Cell Biology
  • Intracellular Trafficking
  • Structural Biology
  • Virology

Education & Training

Post-Graduate School

1999, PhD, Oregon State University

In the News


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