Date of Defense


Date of Graduation



Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Blair Szymczyna

Second Advisor

Brian Tripp

Third Advisor

Todd Barkman


Poxviruses are typically known to cause potentially fatal human diseases. Throughout history, the Variola poxvirus, which causes smallpox, has caused millions of deaths. Recently, poxviruses are being developed as oncolytic agents, and this may lead to poxviruses having a positive impact on human health in the future. The Tanapoxvirus is a great model system for poxviruses, such as Variola virus, since its genome is sequenced and it causes only a mild illness. Biophysical studies of the Tanapoxvirus proteome can lead to discovering the structures and functions of proteins commonly used in the poxvirus replication cycle. This study used bioinformatic programs to predict the structures and functions of many proteins in the Tanapoxvirus proteome. Included in this catalogue are proteins that had no known structure, but contained predicted functions. The very late transcription factor 91L was selected from this list for further study, due to its potentially important role in poxvirus replication, and was screened in order to determine the optimum conditions for expression, purification and biophysical studies. 91L is an important protein to structurally and functionally characterize since it likely plays a critical role in the transcription of Tanapoxvirus structural proteins.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Restricted