William J. Britt, M.D. 
Professor of Pediatrics 
Phone: 205-996-7762
E-mail: wbritt@uab.edu

Dr. Britt received his B.A. in chemistry and M.D. from the University of Arizona.  He then completed internship at McGill University and residency at the University of Minnesota in pediatrics.  After four years as a medical officer in the Laboratory of Persistent Viral Diseases, NIAID, NIH in Hamilton, MT, he joined the UAB faculty in 1994.  He has a secondary appointment in the Departments of Microbiology and Neurobiology and is the Charles A. Alford Professor of Pediatric Infectious Diseases.

Dr. Britt’s laboratory focuses on two important aspects of the biology of herpesviruses: virus assembly and the pathogenesis of human cytomegalovirus (CMV) infections. Regarding virus assembly, he and his colleagues have developed in vitro assay systems that permit the identification and characterization of critical protein interactions related to virus assembly.  Using BAC-derived infectious clones, he has utilized virus genetics to understand the role of different viral proteins in the assembly of an infectious particle.  His results show that interactions between viral tegument and envelope proteins are essential for infectious particle assembly and that inhibition of these interactions can limit envelopment and, therefore, virus assembly. Regarding herpesvirus pathogenesis, his laboratory has played a key role in elucidating the role of cytokines in the pathogenesis of CMV-induced mucosal disease in the human gastrointestinal tract.  His laboratory also has investigated a small animal model of central nervous system (CNS) disease associated with CMV infections. He has exploited a finding that newborn mice infected with murine CMV develop CNS infection that leads to maldevelopment of the CNS, including abnormalities in cellular migration. This system is now being characterized both in terms of host responses and viral genes that are required for this disease phenotype.

Selected Publications

  1. Britt, W.J., Jarvis, M.A., Seo, J.Y., Drummond, D.D. and JA Nelson.  Rapid genetic engineering of human cytomegalovirus using a lambda phage based linear recombination system: Demonstration that pp28 (UL99) is essential for production of infectious virus. J.Virol. 78:539-543, 2004.
  2. Jarvis, M.A., Jones, T.R., Drummond, D.D., Smith, P.P., Britt, W.J., Nelson, J.A. and Baldick, C.J.  Phosphorylation of human cytomegalovirus glycoprotein B (gB) at the acidic cluster (AC) casein kinase 2 site (Ser900) is required for localization of gB to the trans-Golgi network and efficient virus replication. J.Virol. 78:285-293, 2004.
  3. Wang, Z., LaRosa, C., Maas, R., Ly H.,, Brewer, J., Mekhoubad, S., Daftarian, P., Longmate, J., Britt, W.J. and Diamond, D.J.  Recombinant modified vaccinia virus Ankara expressing a soluble form of glycoprotein B causes durable immunity and neutralizing antibodies against multiple strains of human cytomegalovirus. J.Virol. 78:3965-3976, 2004.
  4. Netterwald, J.R., Jones, T.R., Britt, W.J., Yang, S.J., McCrone, I.P. and Zhu, H.  Postattachment events  associated with viral entry are necessary for induction of interferon-stimulated genes by human cytomegalovirus. J.Virol. 78:6688-6691, 2004.
  5. Britt, W.J. and Boppana, S.  Human cytomegalovirus virion proteins. Hum. Immunol. 65:395-402, 2004.
  6. Varnum, S.M., Streblow, D.N., Monroe, M.E., Smith, P., Auberry, K.J., Pasa-Tolic, L., Wang, D., Camp II, D.G., Rodland, K., Wiley, S., Britt, W., Shenk, T., Smith, R.D. and Nelson, J.A.  Identification of proteins in human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) particles: the HCMV proteome. J. Virol. 78:10960-10966, 2004.
  7. Gredmark, S., Britt, W.J., Xie, X., Lindom, L. and Söderberg-Nauclér, C.  Human cytomegalovirus induces inhibition of macrophage differentiation by binding to human aminopeptidase N/CD13.J.Immunol. 173:4897-907, 2004.
  8. Yu, X., Shah, S., Atanasov, I., Lo, P., Liu, F., Britt, W.J. and ZH Zhou, Z.H.  Three-dimensional localization of the smallest capsid protein in the human cytomegalovirus capsid. J.Virol. 79:1327-1332, 2005.
  9. Britt, W.J., Jarvis, M., Drummond, D. and Mach, M.  Antigenic domain 1 (AD-1) is required for oligomerization of human cytomegalovirus glycoprotein B. J. Virol. 79:4066-4079, 2005.
  10. Mach, M., Kropff, B., Kryzyzaniak, M. and Britt, W.  Complex formation of glycoproteins M and N of human cytomegalovirus: structural and functional aspects. J.Virol. 79:2160-2170, 2005.