Area of Interest

Our research interests lie in virus-host interactions mediated by RNA interference (RNAi), a novel gene regulation mechanism mediated by small RNAs. Currently, we are focusing on two major questions in this field: (1) how invading viruses are detected by the RNAi machinery; (2) whether viral pathogenesis is a result of defects in host small RNA biogenesis and function. We conduct our research using Caenorhabditis elegans as a model system, which is well known for its power in genetics. We use a combination of genetic, biochemical, and bioinformatic approaches to address our questions. Findings from our research are expected to improve our understanding on how invading viruses are recognized by innate antiviral mechanisms and how viral infection causes diseases.


Selected Publications

X. Guo, R. Zhang, J. Wang, SW. Ding and R. Lu. Homologous RIG-I-like helicase proteins direct RNAi-mediated antiviral immunity in C. elegans by distinct mechanisms. PNAS. 2013. 110 (40): 16085-16090.

X. Guo, R. Zhang and R. Lu. Antiviral RNA Silencing Initiated in the Absence of RDE-4, a Double-Stranded RNA Binding Protein, in Caenorhabditis elegans. Journal of Virology. 2013. 87(19):10721-10729.

Guo, X., and R. Lu. 2013. Characterization of virus-encoded RNAi suppressors in Caenorhabditis elegans. J. Virology. 87:5414-5423.

X. Guo, W.-X. Li, and R. Lu. 2012. Silencing of host genes directed by virus-derived short interfering RNAs in Caenorhabditis elegans. J. Virology. 86: 11645-11653


Lu, R., E. Yigit, W. X. Li, and S. W. Ding. 2009. An RIG-I-Like RNA helicase mediates antiviral RNAi downstream of viral siRNA biogenesis in Caenorhabditis elegans. PLoS Pathog 5:e1000286.


R. Lu, M. Maduro, F. Li, H. W. Li, G. Broitman-Maduro, W. X. Li and S. W. Ding. Animal virus replication and RNAi-mediated antiviral silencing in Caenorhabditis elegans. Nature. 2005 Aug 18; 426:1040-1043.


P. Parameswaran, E. Sklan, C. Wilkins, T. Burgon, M. A. Samuel, R. Lu, K. M. Ansel, V. Heissmeyer, S. Einav, W. Jackson, T. Doukas, S. Paranjape, C. Polacek, F. Barreto dos Santos, R. Jalili, F. Babrzadeh, B. Gharizadeh, D. Grimm, M. Kay, S. Koike, P. Sarnow, M. Ronaghi, S-W. Ding, E. Harris, M. Chow, M. S. Diamond, K. Kirkegaard, J. S. Glenn, A. Z. Fire. Six Viruses and Forty One Hosts: Viral Small RNAs and Modulation of Small RNA Repertoires in Vertebrate and Invertebrate Systems. PLoS Pathog. 2010 Feb 12;6(2):e1000764.


Wu Q, Luo Y, Lu R, Lau N, Lai EC, Li WX, Ding SW. Virus discovery by deep sequencing and assembly of virus-derived small silencing RNAs. PNAS. 2010. 107(4):1606-11.


Lu R, Malcuit I, Moffett P, Ruiz MT, Peart J, Wu AJ, Rathjen JP, Bendahmane A, Day L and Baulcombe DC. High throughput virus-induced gene silencing implicates heat shock protein 90 in plant disease resistance. EMBO J. 2003 Nov 3; 22(21):5690-9.


Li WX*, Li H*, Lu R*, Li F, Dus M, Atkinson P, Brydon EW, Johnson KL, Garcia-Sastre A, Ball LA, Palese P and Ding SW. Interferon antagonist proteins of influenza and vaccinia viruses are suppressors of RNA silencing. PNAS. 2004 Feb 3; 101(5):1350-1355.      * : equal contributors.


Lu R, Folimonov A, Shintaku M, Li WX, Falk BW, Dawson WO, and Ding SW. Three distinct suppressors of  RNA silencing encoded by a 20-kb viral RNA genome. PNAS. 2004 Nov 2;101(44):15742-7.


Peart JR, Mestre P, Lu R, Malcuit I and Baulcombe DC. NRG1, a CC-NB-LRR protein, together with N, a TIR-NB-LRR protein, mediates resistance against tobacco mosaic virus. Curr Biol. 2005 May 24; 15(10):968-73.