Felicia D Goodrum Sterling

Felicia D Goodrum Sterling

Member of the Graduate Faculty
Professor, BIO5 Institute
Professor, Cancer Biology - GIDP
Professor, Cellular and Molecular Medicine
Professor, Genetics - GIDP
Professor, Immunobiology
Professor, Molecular and Cellular Biology
Primary Department
Department Affiliations
(520) 626-7468

Work Summary

Work Summary
Dr. Goodrum's long-standing research focus is to understand the molecular virus-host interactions important to human cytomegalovirus (CMV) latency and persistence in the host. She has focused on identifying viral and host determinants mediating the switch between latent and replicative states. The goal of her research program is to define the mechanistic underpinnings of HCMV latency and reactivation to lay the foundation for clinical interventions to control CMV disease in all settings.

Research Interest

Research Interest
Felicia Goodrum earned her Ph.D. from Wake Forest University School of Medicine studying cell cycle restrictions to adenovirus replication. She trained as a postdoctoral fellow at Princeton University in the laboratory of Dr. Thomas Shenk studying human cytomegalovirus latency. Dr. Goodrum joined the faculty at the University of Arizona in 2006. Dr. Goodrum is the recipient of the Howard Temin Award from the National Cancer Institute, the Pew Scholar in Biomedical Sciences Award, and the Presidential Award for Early Career Scientists and Engineers.Dr. Goodrum's research focuses on the complex host-virus interactions that result in viral persistence. Progress in understanding latent programs of persistence have been impeded by the inherent complexity of the herpesviruses and that paucity of adequate model systems. Herpesviruses are extraordinary for their ability to coexist with their host by establishing life-long latent infections. Latency is defined as a reversibly quiescent state during which viral gene expression and replication is highly restricted. Her laboratory studies cytomegalovirus or CMV, one of eight human herpesviruses. CMV is remarkable in that it persists latently in 60-99% of the population, generally in the absence of disease in the immunocompetent host. Reactivation of CMV from latency poses life-threatening disease risks in immunocompromised individuals, particularly transplant patients. CMV infection is also the leading cause of infectious disease-related birth defects, affecting ~1% of live births in the US. Further, the health cost of the latent coexistence of CMV is just beginning to emerge in an association to age-related pathologies including vascular disease, immune dysfunction and frailty. The key to eradicating CMV lies in understanding latency in order to ultimately develop novel antiviral strategies targeting latently infected cells or to prevent reactivation. Our studies aim to define the molecular basis of persistence by defining viral and cellular determinants important to viral persistence and the mechanisms by which these determinants function in relevant cell models. In turn, our work will provide critical insights into how CMV assimilates into and impacts human biology.


Kim, J. H., Collins-McMillen, D., Buehler, J. C., Goodrum, F. D., & Yurochko, A. D. (2016). HCMV requires EGFR signaling to enter and initiate the early steps in the establishment of latency in CD34+ human progenitor cells. Journal of virology.

The establishment of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) latency and persistence relies on the successful infection of hematopoietic cells, which serve as sites of viral persistence and contribute to viral spread. Here, using blocking antibodies and pharmacological inhibitors, we document that HCMV activation of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and downstream phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI (3)K) mediates viral entry into CD34+ human progenitor cells (HPCs), resulting in distinct cellular trafficking and nuclear translocation of the virus compared to other immune cells, such as we have documented in monocytes. We argue that the EGFR allows HCMV to regulate the cellular functions of these replication-restricted cells via its signaling activity following viral binding. In addition to regulating HCMV entry/trafficking, EGFR signaling may also shape the early steps required for the successful establishment of viral latency in CD34+ cells, as pharmacological inhibition of EGFR increases the transcription of lytic IE1/IE2 mRNA, while curbing the expression of latency-associated UL138 mRNA. EGFR signaling following infection of CD34+ HPCs may also contribute to changes in hematopoietic potential, as treatment with the EGFRK inhibitor AG1478 alters the expression of the cellular hematopoietic cytokine IL-12 in HCMV-infected, but not in mock-infected cells. These findings, along with our previous work in monocytes, suggest that EGFR likely serves as an important determinant of HCMV tropism for select subsets of hematopoietic cells. Moreover, our new data suggest that EGFR is a key receptor for efficient viral entry and that the ensuing signaling regulates important early events required for successful infection of CD34+ HPCs by HCMV.

Umashankar, M., & Goodrum, F. (2014). Hematopoietic long-term culture (hLTC) for human cytomegalovirus latency and reactivation. Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.), 1119, 99-112.

Of the many research challenges posed by human cytomegalovirus latency, perhaps the most notable is the requirement for primary hematopoietic cell culture. Culturing hematopoietic subpopulations while maintaining physiological relevance must be given utmost consideration. We describe a long-standing primary CD34(+) hematopoietic progenitor cell (HPCs) system as an experimental model to study human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) latency and reactivation. Key aspects of our model include infection of primary human CD34(+) HPCs prior to ex vivo expansion, maintenance of undifferentiated cells in a long-term culture with a stromal cell support, and an assay to quantitate infectious centers produced prior to and following a reactivation stimulus. Our method offers a unique way to quantitatively assess HCMV latency and reactivation to study the contribution of viral and host genes in latency and reactivation.

Bughio, F., Elliott, D. A., & Goodrum, F. (2013). An endothelial cell-specific requirement for the UL133-UL138 locus of human cytomegalovirus for efficient virus maturation. Journal of virology, 87(6), 3062-75.

Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infects a variety of cell types in humans, resulting in a varied pathogenesis in the immunocompromised host. Endothelial cells (ECs) are considered an important target of HCMV infection that may contribute to viral pathogenesis. Although the viral determinants important for entry into ECs are well defined, the molecular determinants regulating postentry tropism in ECs are not known. We previously identified the UL133-UL138 locus encoded within the clinical strain-specific ULb' region of the HCMV genome as important for the latent infection in CD34(+) hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPCs). Interestingly, this locus, while dispensable for replication in fibroblasts, was required for efficient replication in ECs infected with the TB40E or fusion-inducing factor X (FIX) HCMV strains. ECs infected with a virus lacking the entire locus (UL133-UL138(NULL) virus) complete the immediate-early and early phases of infection but are defective for infectious progeny virus production. ECs infected with UL133-UL138(NULL) virus exhibited striking differences in the organization of intracellular membranes and in the assembly of mature virions relative to ECs infected with wild-type (WT) virus. In UL133-UL138(NULL) virus-infected ECs, Golgi stacks were disrupted, and the viral assembly compartment characteristic of HCMV infection failed to form. Further, progeny virions in UL133-UL138(NULL) virus-infected ECs inefficiently acquired the virion tegument and secondary envelope. These defects were specific to infection in ECs and not observed in fibroblasts infected with UL133-UL138(NULL) virus, suggesting an EC-specific requirement for the UL133-UL138 locus for late stages of replication. To our knowledge, the UL133-UL138 locus represents the first cell-type-dependent, postentry tropism determinant required for viral maturation.

Goodrum, F. D., & Ornelles, D. A. (1998). p53 status does not determine outcome of E1B 55-kilodalton mutant adenovirus lytic infection. Journal of virology, 72(12), 9479-90.

The ability of the adenovirus type 5 E1B 55-kDa mutants dl1520 and dl338 to replicate efficiently and independently of the cell cycle, to synthesis viral DNA, and to lyse infected cells did not correlate with the status of p53 in seven cell lines examined. Rather, cell cycle-independent replication and virus-induced cell killing correlated with permissivity to viral replication. This correlation extended to S-phase HeLa cells, which were more susceptible to virus-induced cell killing by the E1B 55-kDa mutant virus than HeLa cells infected during G1. Wild-type p53 had only a modest effect on E1B mutant virus yields in H1299 cells expressing a temperature-sensitive p53 allele. The defect in E1B 55-kDa mutant virus replication resulting from reduced temperature was as much as 10-fold greater than the defect due to p53 function. At 39 degreesC, the E1B 55-kDa mutant viruses produced wild-type yields of virus and replicated independently of the cell cycle. In addition, the E1B 55-kDa mutant viruses directed the synthesis of late viral proteins to levels equivalent to the wild-type virus level at 39 degreesC. We have previously shown that the defect in mutant virus replication can also be overcome by infecting HeLa cells during S phase. Taken together, these results indicate that the capacity of the E1B 55-kDa mutant virus to replicate independently of the cell cycle does not correlate with the status of p53 but is determined by yet unidentified mechanisms. The cold-sensitive nature of the defect of the E1B 55-kDa mutant virus in both late gene expression and cell cycle-independent replication leads us to speculate that these functions of the E1B 55-kDa protein may be linked.

Goodrum, F., Caviness, K., & Zagallo, P. (2012). Human cytomegalovirus persistence. Cellular microbiology, 14(5), 644-55.

Viral persistence is the rule following infection with all herpesviruses. The β-herpesvirus, human cytomegalovirus (HCMV), persists through chronic and latent states of infection. Both of these states of infection contribute to HCMV persistence and to the high HCMV seroprevalence worldwide. The chronic infection is poorly defined molecularly, but clinically manifests as low-level virus shedding over extended periods of time and often in the absence of symptoms. Latency requires long-term maintenance of viral genomes in a reversibly quiescent state in the immunocompetent host. In this review, we focus on recent advances in the biology of HCMV persistence, particularly with respect to the latent mode of persistence. Latently infected individuals harbour HCMV genomes in haematopoietic cells and maintain large subsets of HCMV-specific T-cells. In the last few years, impressive advances have been made in understanding virus-host interactions important to HCMV infection, many of which will profoundly impact HCMV persistence. We discuss these advances and their known or potential impact on viral latency. As herpesviruses are met with similar challenges in achieving latency and often employ conserved strategies to persist, we discuss current and future directions of HCMV persistence in the context of the greater body of knowledge regarding α- and γ-herpesviruses persistence.