Lucio Comai, PhD

Professor of Molecular Microbiology & Immunology

Director of BSL-3 Laboratory

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Dr. Comai received his Biochemistry in 1990 from the University of California, Davis and completed his postdoctoral training at University of California, Berkeley. He joined the faculty of the Keck School of Medicine in 1995 and became a member of the Institute for Genetic Medicine in 2005.


  • Differential Outcomes of Infection by Wild-Type SARS-CoV-2 and the B1. 617. 2 and B. 1. 1. 529 Variants of Concern in K18-hACE2 Transgenic Mice. Viruses. 2023 Dec 29; 16(1). . View in PubMed
  • Mbnl2 loss alters novel context processing and impairs object recognition memory iScience. 2023 May 19; 26(5):106732. . View in PubMed
  • Impedimetric Sensing: An Emerging Tool for Combating the COVID-19 Pandemic Biosensors (Basel). 2023 Jan 30; 13(2). . View in PubMed
  • Potent NKT cell ligands overcome SARS-CoV-2 immune evasion to mitigate viral pathogenesis in mouse models PLoS Pathog. 2023 03; 19(3):e1011240. . View in PubMed
  • A GABA-receptor agonist reduces pneumonitis severity, viral load, and death rate in SARS-CoV-2-infected mice Front Immunol. 2022; 13:1007955. . View in PubMed
  • SARS-CoV-2 couples evasion of inflammatory response to activated nucleotide synthesis Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2022 06 28; 119(26):e2122897119. . View in PubMed
  • Mbnl1 and Mbnl2 regulate brain structural integrity in mice Commun Biol. 2021 11 30; 4(1):1342. . View in PubMed
  • WRN modulates translation by influencing nuclear mRNA export in HeLa cancer cells BMC Mol Cell Biol. 2020 Oct 14; 21(1):71. . View in PubMed
  • Measurements of Hydrogen Peroxide and Oxidative DNA Damage in a Cell Model of Premature Aging Methods Mol Biol. 2020; 2144:245-257. . View in PubMed
  • The Werner Syndrome Helicase Coordinates Sequential Strand Displacement and FEN1-Mediated Flap Cleavage during Polymerase d Elongation Mol Cell Biol. 2017 02 01; 37(3). . View in PubMed
  • Recent advances in understanding the role of lamins in health and disease F1000Res. 2016; 5:2536. . View in PubMed
  • Muscleblind-like 3 deficit results in a spectrum of age-associated pathologies observed in myotonic dystrophy Sci Rep. 2016 08 03; 6:30999. . View in PubMed
  • Muscleblind-Like 1 and Muscleblind-Like 3 Depletion Synergistically Enhances Myotonia by Altering Clc-1 RNA Translation EBioMedicine. 2015 Sep; 2(9):1034-47. . View in PubMed
  • Loss of muscleblind-like 1 results in cardiac pathology and persistence of embryonic splice isoforms Sci Rep. 2015 Mar 12; 5:9042. . View in PubMed
  • Downregulation of the Werner syndrome protein induces a metabolic shift that compromises redox homeostasis and limits proliferation of cancer cells Aging Cell. 2014 04; 13(2):367-78. . View in PubMed
  • A filtering strategy identifies FOXQ1 as a potential effector of lamin A dysfunction Aging (Albany NY). 2012 Aug; 4(8):567-77. . View in PubMed
  • Lamin A, farnesylation and aging Exp Cell Res. 2012 Jan 01; 318(1):1-7. . View in PubMed
  • RNA splicing is responsive to MBNL1 dose PLoS One. 2012; 7(11):e48825. . View in PubMed
  • Expanded CUG repeats Dysregulate RNA splicing by altering the stoichiometry of the muscleblind 1 complex J Biol Chem. 2011 Nov 04; 286(44):38427-38438. . View in PubMed
  • RNA steady-state defects in myotonic dystrophy are linked to nuclear exclusion of SHARP EMBO Rep. 2011 Jul 01; 12(7):735-42. . View in PubMed
  • Cell cycle-regulated association between the Werner syndrome protein and its molecular partners Cell Cycle. 2011 Jun 15; 10(12):2038-40. . View in PubMed
  • Depletion of Ku70/80 reduces the levels of extrachromosomal telomeric circles and inhibits proliferation of ALT cells Aging (Albany NY). 2011 Apr; 3(4):395-406. . View in PubMed
  • Accumulation of distinct prelamin A variants in human diploid fibroblasts differentially affects cell homeostasis Exp Cell Res. 2011 Feb 01; 317(3):319-29. . View in PubMed
  • Hepatitis C virus inhibits DNA damage repair through reactive oxygen and nitrogen species and by interfering with the ATM-NBS1/Mre11/Rad50 DNA repair pathway in monocytes and hepatocytes J Immunol. 2010 Dec 01; 185(11):6985-98. . View in PubMed
  • Processing of human telomeres by the Werner syndrome protein Cell Cycle. 2010 Aug 15; 9(16):3137-8. . View in PubMed
  • Altered nuclear functions in progeroid syndromes: a paradigm for aging research ScientificWorldJournal. 2009 Dec 16; 9:1449-62. . View in PubMed
  • Regulation of lymphoid tyrosine phosphatase activity: inhibition of the catalytic domain by the proximal interdomain Biochemistry. 2009 Aug 11; 48(31):7525-32. . View in PubMed
  • Sequence-specific processing of telomeric 3′ overhangs by the Werner syndrome protein exonuclease activity Aging (Albany NY). 2009 Mar 17; 1(3):289-302. . View in PubMed
  • Perturbation of wild-type lamin A metabolism results in a progeroid phenotype Aging Cell. 2008 Jun; 7(3):355-67. . View in PubMed
  • WRN controls formation of extrachromosomal telomeric circles and is required for TRF2DeltaB-mediated telomere shortening Mol Cell Biol. 2008 Mar; 28(6):1892-904. . View in PubMed
  • Longevity mutation in SCH9 prevents recombination errors and premature genomic instability in a Werner/Bloom model system J Cell Biol. 2008 Jan 14; 180(1):67-81. . View in PubMed
  • Cytoplasmic CUG RNA foci are insufficient to elicit key DM1 features PLoS One. 2008; 3(12):e3968. . View in PubMed
  • Mass spectrometric identification of phosphorylation sites of rRNA transcription factor upstream binding factor Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2007 May; 292(5):C1617-24. . View in PubMed
  • Interaction of muscleblind, CUG-BP1 and hnRNP H proteins in DM1-associated aberrant IR splicing EMBO J. 2006 Sep 20; 25(18):4271-83. . View in PubMed
  • CK2-mediated stimulation of Pol I transcription by stabilization of UBF-SL1 interaction Nucleic Acids Res. 2006; 34(17):4752-66. . View in PubMed
  • Direct regulation of rRNA transcription by fibroblast growth factor 2 Mol Cell Biol. 2005 Nov; 25(21):9419-26. . View in PubMed
  • PTEN represses RNA Polymerase I transcription by disrupting the SL1 complex Mol Cell Biol. 2005 Aug; 25(16):6899-911. . View in PubMed
  • Modifications of both selectivity factor and upstream binding factor contribute to poliovirus-mediated inhibition of RNA polymerase I transcription J Gen Virol. 2005 Aug; 86(Pt 8):2315-2322. . View in PubMed
  • MBNL1 is the primary determinant of focus formation and aberrant insulin receptor splicing in DM1 J Biol Chem. 2005 Feb 18; 280(7):5773-80. . View in PubMed
  • A conserved and species-specific functional interaction between the Werner syndrome-like exonuclease atWEX and the Ku heterodimer in Arabidopsis Nucleic Acids Res. 2005; 33(21):6861-7. . View in PubMed
  • The Werner syndrome protein at the crossroads of DNA repair and apoptosis Mech Ageing Dev. 2004 Aug; 125(8):521-8. . View in PubMed
  • Identification and biochemical characterization of a Werner’s syndrome protein complex with Ku70/80 and poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase-1 J Biol Chem. 2004 Apr 02; 279(14):13659-67. . View in PubMed
  • Mechanism of RNA polymerase I transcription Adv Protein Chem. 2004; 67:123-55. . View in PubMed
  • Coimmunoprecipitation assay for the detection of kinase-substrate interactions Methods Mol Biol. 2003; 218:277-84. . View in PubMed
  • The cell cycle regulatory factor TAF1 stimulates ribosomal DNA transcription by binding to the activator UBF Curr Biol. 2002 Dec 23; 12(24):2142-6. . View in PubMed
  • Displacement of DNA-PKcs from DNA ends by the Werner syndrome protein Nucleic Acids Res. 2002 Sep 01; 30(17):3653-61. . View in PubMed
  • Requirements for the nucleolytic processing of DNA ends by the Werner syndrome protein-Ku70/80 complex J Biol Chem. 2001 Mar 30; 276(13):9896-902. . View in PubMed
  • Functional interaction between Ku and the werner syndrome protein in DNA end processing J Biol Chem. 2000 Sep 15; 275(37):28349-52. . View in PubMed
  • Repression of RNA polymerase I transcription by the tumor suppressor p53 Mol Cell Biol. 2000 Aug; 20(16):5930-8. . View in PubMed
  • Inhibition of RNA polymerase I transcription in differentiated myeloid leukemia cells by inactivation of selectivity factor 1 Cell Growth Differ. 2000 Jan; 11(1):63-70. . View in PubMed
  • The nucleolus: a paradigm for cell proliferation and aging Braz J Med Biol Res. 1999 Dec; 32(12):1473-8. . View in PubMed
  • A kinase activity associated with simian virus 40 large T antigen phosphorylates upstream binding factor (UBF) and promotes formation of a stable initiation complex between UBF and SL1 Mol Cell Biol. 1999 Apr; 19(4):2791-802. . View in PubMed
  • Recruitment of TATA-binding protein-TAFI complex SL1 to the human ribosomal DNA promoter is mediated by the carboxy-terminal activation domain of upstream binding factor (UBF) and is regulated by UBF phosphorylation Mol Cell Biol. 1999 Apr; 19(4):2872-9. . View in PubMed
  • VirE1 is a specific molecular chaperone for the exported single-stranded-DNA-binding protein VirE2 in Agrobacterium Mol Microbiol. 1999 Mar; 31(6):1795-807. . View in PubMed
  • Agrobacterium VirD2 protein interacts with plant host cyclophilins Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1998 Jun 09; 95(12):7040-5. . View in PubMed
  • Heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein A1 binds to the transcription-regulatory region of mouse hepatitis virus RNA Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1997 Sep 02; 94(18):9544-9. . View in PubMed
  • SV40 large T antigen binds to the TBP-TAF(I) complex SL1 and coactivates ribosomal RNA transcription Genes Dev. 1997 Jun 15; 11(12):1605-17. . View in PubMed
  • The rDNA transcription machinery is assembled during mitosis in active NORs and absent in inactive NORs J Cell Biol. 1996 Apr; 133(2):235-46. . View in PubMed
  • Protection of megabase DNA from shearing Nucleic Acids Res. 1995 Oct 11; 23(19):3999-4000. . View in PubMed
  • Reconstitution of transcription factor SL1: exclusive binding of TBP by SL1 or TFIID subunits Science. 1994 Dec 23; 266(5193):1966-72. . View in PubMed
  • Assembly of transcriptionally active RNA polymerase I initiation factor SL1 from recombinant subunits Science. 1994 Dec 23; 266(5193):2015-8. . View in PubMed
  • The TATA-binding protein and associated factors are integral components of the RNA polymerase I transcription factor, SL1 Cell. 1992 Mar 06; 68(5):965-76. . View in PubMed