In 2000, Dr. Altaira Dearborn started her research career studying plant-bacterial symbiosis. She then convinced a model bacterial strain to template gold nano-wires, taking up electron microscopy in the process. After a bout of x-ray crystallography and bacterial transcription, she moved on to cryo-EM, skin bacteria, virology, protein misfolding, and the occasional NMR experiment.
The Rev protein of HIV shuttles viral RNA from the host nucleus to the cytoplasm, circumventing splicing check-points, and enabling the expression of the HIV structural genes. Upon binding to the Rev-response element (RRE) in the viral RNA, the Rev protein assembles into an array that clusters nuclear export signals for recognition by nuclear export machinery. How Rev assembles, the structure and context of the nuclear export signal, and the mechanism by which it coopts host export proteins are all questions for which more research is needed.