Valerian Dolja

Professor, Botany and Plant Pathology

CONTACT INFORMATION:
Office: Cordley 4067
Email: doljav@science.oregonstate.edu
Phone: (541) 737-5472
Links:
Departmental Web Page
Pub Med

EDUCATION:
Ph.D. 1980, Moscow State University, Russia

KEYWORDS: Plant cell biology; Myosin motors; Plant biotechnology; Plant virology; Virus evolution

RESEARCH:
Historically, my research interests were in the molecular and cellular aspects of plant virus replication, transport, and virus-host interactions. My group at OSU has made significant contributions to the functional genomics of closteroviruses, an important virus family with large RNA genomes and unusually complex filamentous virions. We determined functions of all viral proteins including a homolog of the Hsp70 cellular molecular chaperones that plays central role in the multi-protein transport device attached to the virions. We also characterized potent suppressors of RNAi encoded in several closteroviruses.

My current research program has three major directions. An industry-funded project deals with the development of a gene expression and RNAi vector based on a grapevine closterovirus. This vector provides extremely powerful tools for the functional genomics and pathogen control in grapevine. However, the main focus of my group is now on plant myosin motors. We discovered novel myosin functions in transport of organelles, vesicles, and viruses, as well as in cell growth and plant development. The main goal of this NIH-supported project is to understand the molecular mechanisms whereby myosins bind their cargoes and contribute to cell expansion. I am also engaged in a long-term collaborative project with Eugene Koonin (NIH) in the broad area of virus origins and evolution. Using comparative genomics and phylogenomics, we formulated the concept of the ancient Virus World and now explore the interplay between viruses and cells throughout the life’s history.