Summary

Dr. Eren received her Ph.D. from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), where she studied metal transport mechanisms across eukaryotic, bacterial and archeal membranes by P-type ATPAses. During her postdoctoral studies at University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMASS), she focused on structure and function of outer membrane proteins, mainly Occ-family of porins, and their role in bacterial pathogenesis and antibiotic resistance. Currently, Dr. Eren works as a research fellow at National Institutes of Health (NIH) where she studies the underlying mechanisms of viral pathogenesis, viral protein-host protein interactions and the potential use of humanized scFvs and nanobodies for treatment.

Research Statement

Dr. Eren’s research is mainly focused on human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) and other viruses that can coinfect HIV-1 patients and increase morbidity and mortality rates, such as hepatitis B virus (HBV). HIV-1 rev protein is a key regulatory factor that is essential for both early and late phases of viral replication cycles. Rev binds to a 240-base region of complex RNA structure, the rev response element (RRE), and facilitates the export of unspliced or partially spliced viral RNAs from the nucleus to the cytoplasm. In addition to RRE, rev binds to several host proteins including Crm1/Ran-GTP complex, histone chaperons and tubulin. Dr. Eren and her colleagues use a combination of x-ray crystallography, cryo-em and biochemical methods to solve the structures of rev-RRE and rev-host protein complexes to find target regions to inhibit rev activity using antibodies, peptides and/or synthetic aptamers.

The HBV core gene encodes two proteins that share high sequence similarity but differ in their N- and C-termini and form two distinct dimers: core-antigen, which forms the nucleocapsid, and e-antigen which serves as an immune modulator. Recently, Dr. Eren and her colleagues identified antibodies and scFvs that bind to different epitopes on the core- and e-antigen dimers with sub-nanomolar affinity and prevent capsid formation in vivo. Current studies are focused on the use of these antibodies as potential therapeutic agents.

Scientific Publications

Structures of Hepatitis B Virus Core- and e-Antigen Immune Complexes Suggest Multi-point Inhibition.

Eren E, Watts NR, Dearborn AD, Palmer IW, Kaufman JD, Steven AC, Wingfield PT
Structure (London, England : 1993).
2018 Oct 2;
26(10).
doi: 10.1016/j.str.2018.06.012
PMID: 30100358

Structure of an RNA Aptamer that Can Inhibit HIV-1 by Blocking Rev-Cognate RNA (RRE) Binding and Rev-Rev Association.

Dearborn AD, Eren E, Watts NR, Palmer IW, Kaufman JD, Steven AC, Wingfield PT
Structure (London, England : 1993).
2018 Sep 4;
26(9).
doi: 10.1016/j.str.2018.06.001
PMID: 30017564

A new HIV-1 Rev structure optimizes interaction with target RNA (RRE) for nuclear export.

Watts NR, Eren E, Zhuang X, Wang YX, Steven AC, Wingfield PT
Journal of structural biology.
2018 Aug;
203(2).
doi: 10.1016/j.jsb.2018.03.011
PMID: 29605570

Chimeric rabbit/human Fab antibodies against the hepatitis Be-antigen and their potential applications in assays, characterization, and therapy.

Zhuang X, Watts NR, Palmer IW, Kaufman JD, Dearborn AD, Trenbeath JL, Eren E, Steven AC, Rader C, Wingfield PT
The Journal of biological chemistry.
2017 Oct 6;
292(40).
doi: 10.1074/jbc.M117.802272
PMID: 28842495

Modeling of the rotavirus group C capsid predicts a surface topology distinct from other rotavirus species.

Eren E, Zamuda K, Patton JT
Virology.
2016 Jan;
487().
doi: 10.1016/j.virol.2015.10.017
PMID: 26524514

Small-Molecule Transport by CarO, an Abundant Eight-Stranded β-Barrel Outer Membrane Protein from Acinetobacter baumannii.

Zahn M, D'Agostino T, Eren E, Baslé A, Ceccarelli M, van den Berg B
Journal of molecular biology.
2015 Jul 17;
427(14).
doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2015.03.016
PMID: 25846137

Toward understanding the outer membrane uptake of small molecules by Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

Eren E, Parkin J, Adelanwa A, Cheneke B, Movileanu L, Khalid S, van den Berg B
The Journal of biological chemistry.
2013 Apr 26;
288(17).
doi: 10.1074/jbc.M113.463570
PMID: 23467408

Substrate specificity within a family of outer membrane carboxylate channels.

Eren E, Vijayaraghavan J, Liu J, Cheneke BR, Touw DS, Lepore BW, Indic M, Movileanu L, van den Berg B
PLoS biology.
2012 Jan;
10(1).
doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1001242
PMID: 22272184

Education

Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), Worcester, MA
Ph.D., Chemistry and Biochemistry, 2007

Middle East Technical University (METU), Ankara, Turkey
M.Sc., Chemistry and Biochemistry, 2001

Middle East Technical University (METU), Ankara, Turkey
B.Sc, Chemistry and Biochemistry, 1999

Experience

Research Fellow
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, 2014 – 2015

Postdoctoral Fellow
University of Massachusetts Medical School, 2007 – 2012

Last Updated: June 2020