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Researcher Information

Michael Summers, B.S., Ph.D.

Chemistry and Biochemistry, UMBC

UMGCC Research Program:
Molecular and Structural Biology Program

College Degree: B.S. University of West Florida 1980
Post Doctoral Degree: Ph.D. Emory University 1984

Contact Information:

Email: summers@hhmi.umbc.edu

Research Interests:
Our research efforts are aimed at understanding how retroviruses assemble and how they specifically recognized and package their genetic material. Over the past decade or so, we and others have determined the 3D structures of several isolated protein components that make up HIV-1 (the retrovirus that causes AIDS). We now wish to understand how these components interact with each other and with cellular constituents. We are also interested in understanding how these intermolecular interactions change when the initially-formed retrovirus matures and become infectious. In the long term, we would like to use the basic structural and functional information obtained to design new therapeutic approaches for the treatment of AIDS and other human diseases caused by retroviruses.


  1. Zhou, J., Bean, Rebecca L., Vogt, V. M., Summers, M. F. Solution
    Structure of the Rous Sarcoma Virus Nucleocapsid Protein:mY RNA Packaging
    Signal Complex, J. Mol. Biol. 365, 453-467 (2006).

  2. Saad, J. S., Loeliger, E., Luncsford, P., Liriano, M., Tai, J., Kim, A.,
    Miller, J., Joshi, A., Freed, E. O., Summers, M. F. Point mutations
    in the HIV-1 matrix protein turn off the myristyl switch, J. Mol. Biol.
    366, 574-585 (2007).

  3. Saad, J. S., Miller, J., Tai, J., Kim, A., Ghanam, R. H., Summers, M. F.
    Structural basis for targeting HIV-1 Gag proteins to the plasma membrane
    for virus assembly, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A., 103, 11364-11369

  4. Summers, M. F., Hrabowski, F. A. III, Preparing minority scientists
    and engineers, Science 311, 1870-1871 (2006).

  5. DSouza, V., Summers, M. F. How retroviruses recognize and
    package their RNA genomes, Nature Reviews Microbiology 3, 643-655 (2005).

  6. D'Souza, V. D., Summers, M. F., 'Structural Basis for Packaging the Dimeric
    Genome of Moloney Murine Leukemia Virus,' Nature 431, 586-590 (2004).