Leonard Norkin

Professor Emeritus

Photo of Leonard Norkin



Columbia University, New York, NY, 1969

Mailing address: 

Leonard C. Norkin, Ph.D.
Department of Microbiology
203 Morrill Science Center IVN
University of Massachusetts
639 North Pleasant Street
Amherst, MA 01003-9298

Research Interests

My main research interest has been the interaction of simian virus 40 (SV40) with its host cells. In particular, my laboratory has been characterizing the entry pathway by which this virus invades cells. Earlier, we identified major histocompatibility class 1 proteins as a binding receptor for SV40. Later, we found that SV40 enters cells via caveole. Indeed, this was the first demonstration that an intracellular microbial pathogen might invade cells via this route. The atypical caveola-mediated SV40 entry pathway then delivers the virus to the endoplasmic reticulum; a rather unusual site for cargo taken up by endocytosis. We next established that the virus begins to disassemble in the ER, as shown by our finding that its internal capsid proteins become accessible to antibodies in that organelle. The virus is then released from the ER into the cytoplasm, where it undergoes further disassembly that exposes its genomic DNA to antibodies. I recently authored a virology textbook (Virology: Molecular Biology and Pathogenesis by Leonar Norkin, ASM Press, 2010) and served as Chairperson of the Polyomavirus Study Group of the International Committee on the Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV).

Selected Publications

Selected Publications

Research interests - short: 

Professor Emeritus