Dr. K. Gus Kousoulas received his BS in Physics from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, NJ, and his MS and PhD degrees from Pennsylvania State University in Biophysics and Molecular Cell Biology, respectively. He received postdoctoral training at the University of Chicago working in Dr. Bernard Roizman’s laboratory and at the University of California at San Francisco with Dr. Lenore Pereira, where later he was promoted to Research Assistant Professor. He joined Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, LA in 1988 and became full professor in 1994. He is currently Professor of Virology at the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine with adjunct appointments at the Department of Biological Sciences, College of Basic Sciences, the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans, and the LSU Health Sciences Center’s Gene Therapy Program and the Stanley S. Scott Cancer Center in New Orleans. He is also an affiliate member of the Tulane National Primate Research Center located in Covington, LA. Dr. Kousoulas has been independently funded by NIH with R01 grants since 1990 working on the molecular biology of herpes simplex virus. He is the Principal Investigator of the LSU-Tulane Center for Experimental Infectious Diseases, which is funded by the NIH:NCRR: COBRE mechanism and a mentor of a junior investigator in the LSU Health Sciences Center School of Dentistry COBRE (PI: Paul Fidel). Dr. Kousoulas is a member of the Steering Committee of the LSU Baton Rouge-led NCRR: INBRE program and leads the molecular and cellular biology core of the INBRE. Dr. Kousoulas has served on a number of NIH panels including the NCRR Comparative Medicine Panel and other NIH panels and site visit teams of National Primate Research Centers.
Area of Interest
- My primary research interests are focused on the molecular biology and pathogenesis of herpes simplex viruses (HSV) and human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8) or Kaposi’s Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus (KSHV). Specifically, I seek to define the molecular mechanisms that control attachment and penetration of these viruses into susceptible cells (including cells of neuronal origin for HSV), their ability to replicate and spread from cell to cell, and the role of membrane fusion events in intracellular virion transport and egress. Our experimental approach utilizes advanced molecular biology, molecular genetics and cell biology. Briefly, mutant herpesviruses deficient in a particular function are isolated through generalized mutagenesis, site-specific mutagenesis of viral genomes cloned into bacterial artificial chromosomes (BAC).These engineered viruses are studied to learn about the role of specific virus encoded proteins in host cell attachment, penetration, virus induced cell fusion virion assembly and egress. To analyze the role of specific viral genes in virus penetration and virus-induced cell fusion these genes are expressed in transient, eukaryotic expression systems and the expressed proteins are detected using specific monoclonal antibodies produced in my laboratory. In addition, monoclonal and monospecific sera against viral proteins are utilized to locate their target proteins in infected cells using confocal and immunoelectron microscopy and to analyze their structure and function. A major finding from our studies has implicated multiple protein-protein interactions among viral membrane proteins of both HSV-1 and KSHV in regulation of virus-induced membrane fusion phenomena. Similarly, multiple interactions among membrane proteins and tegument proteins have been found to regulate cytoplasmic virion envelopment.
- A second major recent interest of my laboratory is the use of viral vectors for gene and ancer therapy and vaccine purposes. Currently funded projects include the generation of oncolytic recombinant herpes simplex virus vectors to combat breast cancer (Louisiana Board of Regents and Louisiana Gene Therapy and Cancer Consortia). These viruses are tested in zenograft mouse models using human breast cancer cells.
- A significant effort is focused on the production of vaccines for West Nile virus, herpes B virus and Simian Retrovirus using vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) and adenovirus-based vectors. This work
is carried out in collaboration with the Tulane National Research Primate Center (Dr. Preston Marx).
- A fourth research interest of my laboratory is the molecular biology and pathogenesis of human and bovine coronaviruses. We have derived and compared the entire genomic nucleotide sequence of several respiratory and enteric bovine coronaviruses and identified specific nucleotide changes, which may be associated with virus tropism. We are particularly interested in the structure and function of the viral spike glycoproteins encoded by the SARS coronavirus and respiratory bovine coronaviruses, which are known to promote virus entry into susceptible cells and virus-induced membrane fusion phenomena
Honors & Awards
- Honors Program,Phe Zeta Kappa. Fairleigh Dickinson University (1972-1975)
- Phi Omega Epsilon; Magna Cum Laude. Fairleigh Dickinson University (1974-1975) (B. S. in Physics).
- Beecham Award for Research Excellence. SVM, LSU (1990)
- Aesculapian Lecturer. SVM, LSU (1997)
- Distinguished Faculty Scholar Award. SVM, LSU (1999)
- LSU Distinguished Faculty Award. LSU (1999)
- Received special salutation by the Dean of the College of Basic Sciences, Louisiana State
- University for achieving the highest rating of student evaluation for the instructor and
the course (9.7 of 10 pts) for the undergraduate course BIOL 4190 Introductory
- Virology (This course was voluntarily taught by Dr. K. G. Kousoulas). 2003 and 2005.
- Received special salutation by the Dean of the College of Basic Sciences for achieving the
highest rating of student evaluation for the instructor and the course (9.6 of 10 pts) for
the undergraduate course BIOL4190 Introductory Virology. 2001.
- Received the LSU Distinguished Faculty Award (for campus-wide teaching excellence).
Louisiana State University. 1999.
- Received excellent ratings in student evaluations of the graduate course
VMP7410/BCH7289 “Biochemistry of Viruses” (1997, 1998, 2000).
- Received excellent ratings in student evaluations of the veterinary virology course VMED
5230 (1998, 2000).
- Rated in the top 20 teachers in the College of Basic Sciences (1993, 1995).
- Received highest teaching ratings in the Department of Biochemistry for the Course VMP
7410/BCH 7289; Biochemistry of Viruses (1993).
- Received teaching ratings in the top 10th percentile for the Course VMP 7410/BCH 7289;
Biochemistry of Viruses (1995).
- Chouljenko, V. N., A. V. Iyer, S. Chowdhury, J. Kim, and K. G. Kousoulas. 2010. The herpes simplex virus type 1 UL20 protein and the amino terminus of glycoprotein K (gK) physically interact with gB. J Virol 84:8596-606.
- Subramanian, R., I. Sehgal, O. D'Auvergne, and K. G. Kousoulas. 2010. Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus glycoproteins B and K8.1 regulate virion egress and synthesis of vascular endothelial growth factor and viral interleukin-6 in BCBL-1 cells. J Virol 84:1704-14.
- Chouljenko, V. N., A. V. Iyer, S. Chowdhury, D. V. Chouljenko, and K. G. Kousoulas. 2009. The amino terminus of herpes simplex virus type 1 glycoprotein K (gK) modulates gB-mediated virus-induced cell fusion and virion egress. J Virol 83:12301-13.
- Israyelyan, A., E. J. Shannon, A. Baghian, M. T. Kearney, and K. G. Kousoulas. 2009. Thalidomide suppressed the growth of 4T1 cells into solid tumors in Balb/c mice in a combination therapy with the oncolytic fusogenic HSV-1 OncdSyn. Cancer Chemother Pharmacol 64:1201-10.
- Iyer, A. V., M. J. Boudreaux, N. Wakamatsu, A. F. Roy, A. Baghian, V. N. Chouljenko, and K. G. Kousoulas. 2009. Complete genome analysis and virulence characteristics of the Louisiana West Nile virus strain LSU-AR01. Virus Genes 38:204-14.
- Iyer, A. V., B. Pahar, M. J. Boudreaux, N. Wakamatsu, A. F. Roy, V. N. Chouljenko, A. Baghian, C. Apetrei, P. A. Marx, and K. G. Kousoulas. 2009. Recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus-based west Nile vaccine elicits strong humoral and cellular immune responses and protects mice against lethal challenge with the virulent west Nile virus strain LSU-AR01. Vaccine 27:893-903
- Lee, H. C., V. N. Chouljenko, D. V. Chouljenko, M. J. Boudreaux, and K. G. Kousoulas. 2009. The herpes simplex virus type 1 glycoprotein D (gD) cytoplasmic terminus and full-length gE are not essential and do not function in a redundant manner for cytoplasmic virion envelopment and egress. J Virol 83:6115-24.
- David, A. T., A. Baghian, T. P. Foster, V. N. Chouljenko, and K. G. Kousoulas. 2008. The herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) glycoprotein K(gK) is essential for viral corneal spread and neuroinvasiveness. Curr Eye Res 33:455-67.
- Foster, T. P., V. N. Chouljenko, and K. G. Kousoulas. 2008. Functional and physical interactions of the herpes simplex virus type 1 UL20 membrane protein with glycoprotein K. J Virol 82:6310-23.
- Subramanian, R., O. D'Auvergne, H. Kong, and K. G. Kousoulas. 2008. The cytoplasmic terminus of Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus glycoprotein B is not essential for virion egress and infectivity. J Virol 82:7144-54.
- Fulmer, P. A., J. M. Melancon, J. D. Baines, and K. G. Kousoulas. 2007. UL20 protein functions precede and are required for the UL11 functions of herpes simplex virus type 1 cytoplasmic virion envelopment. J Virol 81:3097-108.
- Israyelyan, A. H., J. M. Melancon, L. G. Lomax, I. Sehgal, C. Leuschner, M. T. Kearney, V. N. Chouljenko, A. Baghian, and K. G. Kousoulas. 2007. Effective treatment of human breast tumor in a mouse xenograft model with herpes simplex virus type 1 specifying the NV1020 genomic deletion and the gBsyn3 syncytial mutation enabling high viral replication and spread in breast cancer cells. Hum Gene Ther 18:457-73.
- Melancon, J. M., P. A. Fulmer, and K. G. Kousoulas. 2007. The herpes simplex virus UL20 protein functions in glycoprotein K (gK) intracellular transport and virus-induced cell fusion are independent of UL20 functions in cytoplasmic virion envelopment. Virol J 4:120.
- Mott, K. R., G. C. Perng, Y. Osorio, K. G. Kousoulas, and H. Ghiasi. 2007. A recombinant herpes simplex virus type 1 expressing two additional copies of gK is more pathogenic than wild-type virus in two different strains of mice. J Virol 81:12962-72.
- Osorio, Y., K. R. Mott, A. M. Jabbar, A. Moreno, T. P. Foster, K. G. Kousoulas, and H. Ghiasi. 2007. Epitope mapping of HSV-1 glycoprotein K (gK) reveals a T cell epitope located within the signal domain of gK. Virus Res 128:71-80.
- Petit, C. M., V. N. Chouljenko, A. Iyer, R. Colgrove, M. Farzan, D. M. Knipe, and K. G. Kousoulas. 2007. Palmitoylation of the cysteine-rich endodomain of the SARS-coronavirus spike glycoprotein is important for spike-mediated cell fusion. Virology 360:264-74.