Profile of a Pathology Faculty Member

Pathology Faculty Photo

Eric Hunter, PhD

HIV Pathogenesis

Pathology & Laboratory Medicine

Other Appointments/Positions

Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, Emory University

Senior Scientist Co-Director, Emory Center for AIDS Research, Emory University

Co-Director for Basic and Translational Science, Emory Center for AIDS Research, Emory University

Pathology Division(s):
Experimental Pathology
Email Address:


B.Sc. (Honors)   Birmingham University, Birmingham, England Field of Study- Bacteriology, 1966 - 1969
Ph.D.   Imperial Cancer Research Fund & Brunel University of England--- Field of Study - Tumor Immunology, 1969 - 1972
Postdoctoral Fellow   Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Southern California, Los Angeles-- Field of Study - RNA TUmor Virus, 1972 - 1976

Research Interests:

- Molecular Biology of HIV and other Retroviruses Research in my laboratory centers on the replication and pathogenesis of retroviruses, with a particular focus on the development of novel therapeutic and vaccine approaches to HIV. Using a model system based on the primate retrovirus Mason-Pfizer monkey virus (M-PMV), we are studying the viral-host interactions that are necessary for assembly of virions. These studies have identified unique insights into the mechanisms the virus employs for intracellular targeting of components necessary for the assembly and release of infectious virions.
- HIV-1 Glycoprotein-mediated Entry Over the past several years, our laboratory has characterized the biosynthesis and transport of the HIV-1 glycoprotein (Env), and has identified protein domains critical for fusion and entry of the virus. Our current studies focus on the membrane-spanning component of the Env complex, gp41, which not only acts as the membrane fusion machine for the virus, but also targets Env to the site of virus assembly. These studies utilize molecular genetics approaches to dissect out structure-function relationships within the protein, with the goal of identifying new therapeutic targets for HIV-1.
- Heterosexual Transmission of HIV-1 Employing knowledge and technology gained in the molecular characterization of the HIV Env complex and its role in membrane fusion, we have embarked on studies in Rwanda and Zambia aimed at defining, at a molecular level, the nature of the virus that establishes infection following heterosexual transmission. Studies from more than 20 transmission pairs show that a severe genetic bottleneck occurs during transmission, with a single genetic variant initiating infection in the new host. Studies are ongoing to define the unique biological and structural properties of the transmitted virus with the goal of targeting these variants with vaccines. We are also investigating how HIV-1 adapts over time to cellular and humoral immune pressures as it is transmitted from one immunogenetic environment to another. These studies will provide keys to the mechanisms HIV uses to evade the immune response of a newly infected host.

Honors / Awards:

  • Ohio State University, Distinguished Research Career Award, 2004
  • Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar, 2004
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham, Distinguished Faculty Lecturer Award, 2002
  • Senior Fellowship, Fogarty International, 1994 - 1995
  • National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Merit Award for Structure/Function Analysis of the HIV Env Gene Product, 1992 - 2002
  • National Cancer Institute Merit Award for Genetics of Type D Retroviruses, 1991 - 2000
  • National Cancer Institute Merit Award for Site Specific Mutagenesis in the Env Gene of Rous Sarcoma Virus, 1989 - 1997
  • National Cancer Institute Research Career Development Award, 1980 - 1985
  • Postdoctoral Fellow of the Damon Runyon Memorial Fund for Cancer Research, 1975
  • Cancer Immunology Fellow of the Cancer Research Institute, New York, 1972

Selected/Most Recent Publications:

Click here to view all publications

Published and Accepted Research Articles -

  • Prentice HA, Price MA, Porter TR, Cormier E, Mugavero MJ, Kamali A, Karita E, Lakhi S, Sanders EJ, Anzala O, Amornkul PN, Allen S, HUNTER E, Kaslow RA, Gilmour J, Tang J, Partnership IAHP. (2014). Dynamics of viremia in primary HIV-1 infection in Africans: Insights from analyses of host and viral correlates. Virology. 449:254-62. PMCID: PMC3931417
  • Carlson JM, Schaefer M, Monaco DC, Batorsky R, Claiborne DT, Prince J, Deymier MJ, Ende ZS, Klatt NR, DeZiel CE, Lin TH, Peng J, Seese AM, Shapiro R, Frater J, Ndung'u T, Tang J, Goepfert P, Gilmour J, Price MA, Kilembe W, Heckerman D, Goulder PJ, Allen TM, Allen S, HUNTER E. (2014). HIV transmission. Selection bias at the heterosexual HIV-1 transmission bottleneck. Science. 345(6193):1254031. PMID: 25013080
  • Penezina O, Krueger NX, Rodriguez-Chavez IR, Busch MP, Hural J, Kim JH, O'Connell RJ, HUNTER E, Aboud S, Higgins K, Kovalenko V, Clapham D, Crane D, Levin AE, Group HIVSS. (2014). Performance of a redesigned HIV Selectest enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay optimized to minimize vaccine-induced seropositivity in HIV vaccine trial participants. Clinical and vaccine immunology : CVI. 21(3):391-8. PMCID: PMC3957658.
  • Cavrois M, Neidleman J, Santiago ML, Derdeyn CA, HUNTER E, Greene WC. (2014). Enhanced Fusion and Virion Incorporation for HIV-1 Subtype C Envelope Glycoproteins with Compact V1/V2 Domains. J Virol. 88(4):2083-94. PMCID: PMC3911571.
  • Prentice HA, Pajewski NM, He D, Zhang K, Brown EE, Kilembe W, Allen S, HUNTER E, Kaslow RA, Tang J. (2014). Host genetics and immune control of HIV-1 infection: fine mapping for the extended human MHC region in an African cohort. Genes and immunity. 15(5):275-81. PMCID: PMC4111776
  • Claiborne DT, Prince JL, HUNTER E. (2014). A Restriction Enzyme Based Cloning Method to Assess the In vitro Replication Capacity of HIV-1 Subtype C Gag-MJ4 Chimeric Viruses. Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE. (90). PMID: 25225725.
  • Deymier MJ, Claiborne DT, Ende Z, Ratner HK, Kilembe W, Allen S, HUNTER E. (2014). Particle infectivity of HIV-1 full-length genome infectious molecular clones in a subtype C heterosexual transmission pair following high fidelity amplification and unbiased cloning. Virology. 468-470C:454-61. PMID: 25243334
  • Payne RP, Branch S, Kloverpris H, Matthews PC, Koofhethile CK, Strong T, Adland E, Leitman E, Frater J, Ndung'u T, HUNTER E, Haubrich R, Mothe B, Edwards A, Riddell L, Chen F, Harrigan PR, Brumme ZL, Mallal S, John M, Jooste JP, Shapiro R, Deeks SG, Walker BD, Brander C, Landis C, Carlson JM, Prado JG, Goulder PJ. (2014). Differential escape patterns within the dominant HLA-B*57:03-restricted HIV Gag epitope reflect distinct clade-specific functional constraints. Journal of virology. 88(9):4668-78. PMCID: PMC3993828
  • Wen X, Ding L, HUNTER E, Spearman P. (2014). An siRNA Screen of Membrane Trafficking Genes Highlights Pathways Common to HIV-1 and M-PMV Virus Assembly and Release. PloS one. 9(9):e106151. PMCID: PMC4154853
  • Pereira LE, Clark J, Grznarova P, Wen X, LaCasse R, Ruml T, Spearman P, HUNTER E. (2014). Direct evidence for intracellular anterograde co-transport of M-PMV Gag and Env on microtubules. Virology. 449:109-19. PMID: 24418544
  • Wen X, Ding L, Wang JJ, Qi M, Hammonds J, Chu H, Chen X, HUNTER E, Spearman P. (2014). ROCK1 and LIM Kinase Modulate Retrovirus Particle Release and Cell-Cell Transmission Events. Journal of virology. 88(12):6906-21. PMCID: PMC4054354
  • Basu D, Xiao P, Ende Z, Bere A, Britt WJ, Mulenga J, Kilembe W, Allen SA, Derdeyn CA, HUNTER E. (2014). Low antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity responses in Zambians prior to HIV-1 intrasubtype C superinfection. Virology. 462-463C:295-8. PMCID: PMC4125417
  • Fauci AS, Marovich MA, Dieffenbach CW, HUNTER E, Buchbinder SP. (2014). Immunology. Immune activation with HIV vaccines. Science. 344(6179):49-51. PMID: 24700849
  • Li X, Price MA, He D, Kamali A, Karita E, Lakhi S, Sanders EJ, Anzala O, Amornkul PN, Allen S, HUNTER E, Kaslow RA, Gilmour J, Tang J, Partnership IAHP. (2014). Host genetics and viral load in primary HIV-1 infection: clear evidence for gene by sex interactions. Human genetics. 133(9):1187-97. PMCID: PMC4127002
  • Prentice HA, Porter TR, Price MA, Cormier E, He D, Farmer PK, Kamali A, Karita E, Lakhi S, Sanders EJ, Anzala O, Amornkul PN, Allen S, HUNTER E, R. Kaslow A, Gilmour J, Tang J, for the IAVI African Prevention Partnership. (2013). HLA-B*57 versus HLA-B*81 in HIV-1 Infection: Slow and Steady Wins the Race? Journal of virology. PMCID: PMC3624227.

Book Chapters -

  • HUNTER, E. (2001) Virus Assembly. In: Fields Virology, Fourth Edition. Eds. D.M. Knipe and P.M. Howley. Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia, PA, Vol. 1, Chap. 8:171-197.
  • HUNTER, E., Casey, J., Hahn, B., Hayami, M., Korber, B., Kurth, R., Neil, J., Rethwilm, A., Sonigo, P. and Stoye, J. (2000). Retroviridae. In: Virus Taxonomy. Seventh Report of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses. Eds. van Regenmortel, M.H.V., et al., London, San Diego: Academic Press, pp 369-387.