Associate Professor of Biology
Robert and Debra Lee Faculty Fellowship
B.S. Florida State University (2000)
Ph.D. Vanderbilt University (2005)
Postdoctoral Research, National Institutes of Health (2011)
Wake Downtown 2817, Winston Hall 011
Areas of Interest
Rotavirus Replication and Evolution
Our research efforts focus on rotaviruses, which are segmented, double-stranded (ds) RNA viruses that cause diarrhea in young children and animals. During infection of a host cell, rotaviruses replicate their dsRNA genome in tandem with the early stages of virion particle assembly. We seek to better understand this replicase-assembly mechanism of rotavirus through (i) structure-guided, functional analyses of viral proteins and assembly intermediates as well as (ii) genetic analyses of wildtype and mutant rotavirus strains. We also have projects that aim to uncover rotavirus genetic diversity in nature and to elucidate selection pressures that temper viral evolution.
Steger CL, Brown ML, Sullivan OM, Boudreaux CE, Cohen CA, LaConte LEW, McDonald SM (2019). In vitro dsRNA synthesis by rotavirus polymerase mutants with lesions at core shell contact sites. Journal of Virology, in press.
Steger CL, Boudreaux CE, LaConte LE, Pease JB, McDonald SM (2019). Group A rotavirus VP1 polymerase and VP2 core shell proteins: intergenotypic sequence variation and in vitro functional compatibility. Journal of Virology, e01642-18
Mingo R*, Zhang S*, Long CP, LaConte LE, McDonald SM. (2017). Genetic determinants restricting the reassortment of heterologous NSP2 genes into the simian rotavirus SA11 genome. Scientific Reports, 7(1):9301. *co-first authors.
McKell AO, LaConte LE, McDonald SM. (2017). A temperature-sensitive lesion in the N-terminal domain of the rotavirus polymerase affects its intracellular localization and enzymatic activity. Journal of Virology, 91: e00062-17.
Long CP, McDonald SM. (2017). Rotavirus genome replication: some assembly required. PLoS Pathogens, 13:e1006242.
Silva FD, Gregori F, McDonald SM. (2016). Distinguishing the genotype 1 genes of human Wa-like versus porcine rotaviruses. Infection, Genetics, and Evolution, 43:6-14.
McDonald SM, Nelson MI, Turner PE, and Patton JT. (2016). Reassortment in segmented RNA viruses: mechanisms and outcomes. Nature Reviews in Microbiology, 14:448-60.
Boudreaux CE, Kelly DF, McDonald SM. (2015). Electron microscopic analysis of rotavirus assembly-replication intermediates. Virology, 477C:32-41.
Zhang S, McDonald PW, Thompson T, Dennis AF, Akopov A, Kirkness EF, Patton JT, McDonald SM. (2014). Rotaviruses from a single location over an 18-year timespan suggests protein co-adaption influences gene constellations. Journal of Virology, 17:9842-9863.
Boudreaux CE*, Vile D*, Gilmore B, Tanner J, Kelly DF, McDonald SM. (2013). Rotavirus core shell subdomains involved in polymerase encapsidation. Journal of General Virology, 94:1818-2. *co-first authors.
McDonald SM, McKell AO, Rippinger CM, McAllen JK, Akopov A, Kirkness E, Payne DC, Edwards KM, Chappell J, Patton JT. (2012). Diversity and relationships of co-circulating modern human rotaviruses revealed using large-scale comparative genomics. Journal of Virology, 86:9148-9162.