Faculty Advisor

Heilman, Destin


Members of the Circoviridae family of animal viruses encode a viral protein capable of selectively inducing apoptosis in cancer cells while leaving normal cells intact. Apoptin is nuclear in cancer cells but cytoplasmic in normal cells, whereas PCV1-VP3 exhibits cytoplasmic localization regardless of cell type. This study aimed to create a nuclear localized PCV1-VP3 mutant as well as assess the apoptotic activity of this mutant. A predicted non-classical nuclear export sequence was targeted by site-directed mutagenesis, resulting in enhanced apoptotic ability but continued cytoplasmic localization. Truncated PCV1-VP3 (105-139) was not demonstrated to retain apoptotic activity. The results described here warrant further investigation into the location of PCV1-VP3’s functional NES.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

April 2016



Project Type

Major Qualifying Project


Restricted-WPI community only

Advisor Department

Chemistry and Biochemistry

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