COSAM » COSAM Faculty » Biological Sciences » Sztuba-Solinska, Joanna

Joanna Sztuba-Solinska
Biological Sciences
Assistant Professor

Office: 312 Rouse Life Sciences Bldg.

Lab: 121/122 Rouse Life Sciences Bldg.

101 Life Sciences Bldg.
Auburn University, AL 36849

Phone: (334) 844-1784
Fax: (334) 844-1645



Ph.D. – Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL
M.S. – Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL
M.S. – University of Science and Technology, Bydgoszcz, Poland

Professional Employment

Postdoc - Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research, NIH/NCI
Scientist I - Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research, NIH/NCI

Research and Teaching Interests

An area of special interest to me is defining how viral RNA structure governs its function in cellular processes, and how structured motifs can function as molecular scaffolds for various effector molecules such as DNA, RNA and proteins.

Some of my past projects involved investigation of long-range tertiary interactions and cis-acting RNA motifs that modulate multifunctionality of viral RNAs during infection, i.e. minigenomic RNAs of Ebola virus, Dengue virus and the HIV-2 Rev response element. Another project involved identification of a novel chemotype capable of selectively targeting the HIV-1 Transactivation Response (TAR) RNA hairpin by screening a library of drug-like small molecules in a microarray format. Identifying small molecules that selectively bind to RNA structures remains an important challenge in developing specific RNA structure-based antiviral/anticancer therapeutics. Recently, I resolved the structural conformation of Kaposi’s sarcoma herpesvirus polyadenylated nuclear (PAN) RNA in the nuclear and cytoplasmic compartments of infected cells and within viral particles. In addition, I identified a small molecule that selectively binds the PAN RNA triple helix motif (also found in the oncogenic long non-coding RNA, MALAT1) and promotes KSHV lytic replication. The “shock-and-kill” approach used in this research induces latent virus to resurface, making it available for targeting with combinatorial drugs therapy.

Selected Publications

  1. Sztuba-Solinska J, SFJ Le Grice. 2017. The “Topological train ride” of a viral long non-coding RNA. RNA Biology (in press).

  2. Sztuba-Solinska J, Rausch JW, Smith R, Miller T, Whitby D, Le Grice SJF. 2017. Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus polyadenylated nuclear RNA: a structural scaffold for nuclear, cytoplasmic and viral proteins. Nucleic Acids Res doi:10.1093/nar/gkx241

  3. FA Abulwerdi, MD Shortridge, Sztuba-Solinska J, R Wilson, SFJ Le Grice, et al. 2016. Development of Small Molecules with a Noncanonical Binding Mode to HIV-1 Trans Activation Response (TAR) RNA. Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 59:11148-11160.

  4. Sztuba-Solinska J, Diaz L, Kumar MR, Kolb G, Wiley MR, Jozwick L, Kuhn et al. 2016. A small stem-loop structure of the Ebola virus trailer is essential for replication and interacts with heat-shock protein A8. Nucleic Acids Res 44:9831-9846.

  5. JW Rausch, J Sztuba-Solinska, S Lusvarghi, SFJ Le Grice. 2016. Novel Biochemical Tools for Probing HIV RNA Structure. HIV Protocols 91-117.

  6. Cavallari I, Rende F, Bona MK, Sztuba-Solinska J, Silic-Benussi M, Tognon M, LeGrice SF, Franchini G, D'Agostino DM, Ciminale V. 2015. Expression of Alternatively Spliced Human T-Cell Leukemia Virus Type 1 mRNAs Is Influenced by Mitosis and by a Novel cis-Acting Regulatory Sequence. J Virol. 90:1486-1498. doi: 10.1128/JVI.02298-15.

  7. Sztuba-Solinska J, Shenoy SR, Gareiss P, Krumpe LR, Le Grice SF, O'Keefe BR, Schneekloth JS Jr. 2014. Identification of biologically active, HIV TAR RNA-binding small molecules using small molecule microarrays. J Am Chem Soc. 36:8402-8410. doi: 10.1021/ja502754f.

  8. Sztuba-Solinska J, Le Grice SF. 2014. Insights into secondary and tertiary interactions of dengue virus RNA by SHAPE Methods. Mol Biol. 1138:225-239. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-0348-1_14.


Undergraduate Graduate

RNA World

Last updated: 09/03/2017