Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Penn State Science
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Craig Cameron

Craig Cameron

Main Content

  • Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • Eberly Chair in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
201 Althouse Laboratory
University Park, PA 16802
Phone: (814) 863-8705

Research Interests

RNA polymerases and RNA-binding proteins in viral infection and mitochondrial disease


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CV for Dr. Craig Cameron

Graduate Programs


Cameron Lab Logo

Research Summary

RNA Polymerases and RNA-binding Proteins in Viral Infection and Mitochondrial Disease

Since its inception, the primary goal of this laboratory has been development of strategies to treat or to prevent infections by RNA viruses.  We have used poliovirus and hepatitis C virus (HCV) as our primary model systems.  Our expertise in virology, biochemistry and mechanistic enzymology brings a unique combination of intellectual and technical resources to the study of RNA viruses.  Our initial focus was the viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp).  In particular, we were interested in the kinetic, thermodynamic and structural basis for fidelity of nucleotide incorporation, a topic of considerable importance not only for accurate maintenance, transmission and expression of genetically encoded information but also for targeting the RdRp for antiviral therapy.  These studies have led to exciting discoveries that have moved the lab into many new areas, including enzyme dynamics, vesicular trafficking, innate immunity, vaccine development and mitochondrial molecular biology.  Our work is highly collaborative and includes research teams from academia (local, national and international), government and industry.  We currently have projects in the following areas:  RNA-dependent RNA polymerase mechanism, Viral attenuation and vaccine development, Picornavirus genome replication, Biochemical mechanisms and biological functions of HCV NS3 and NS5a proteins, Mitochondrial transcription and disease, and Lethal mutagenesis as an antiviral strategy.


Cameron Lab Group Photo


Selected Publications

Journal Articles

  • Kolli, S., Meng, X., Wu, X., Shengjuler, D., Cameron, C.E., Xiang, Y., and Deng, J. (2014). Structure-function analysis of vaccinia virus H7 protein reveals a novel phosphoinositide binding fold essential for poxvirus membrane biogenesis. J. Virol. 2014 Dec 3 Epub ahead of print
  • Moustafa, I.M., Korboukh, V.K., Arnold, J.J., Smidansky, E.D., Marcotte, L.L., Gohara, D.W., Yang, X., Sanchez-Farran, M.A., Filman, D., Maranas, J.K., Boehr, D.D., Hogle, J.M., Colina, C.M., and Cameron, C.E. (2014). Structural dynamics as a contributor to error-prone replication by a RNA-dependent RNA polymerase. J. Biol. Chem. 2014 Nov 6 Epub ahead of print
  • Li, S., Ding, X., Mao, Z., Chen, Y., Nama, N., Guo, F., Li, P., Wang, L., Cameron, C.E., and Huang T.J. (2014). Standing surface acoustic wave (SSAW)-based cell washing. Lab Chip 15, 331-8. PMC in process
  • Zafar, M.K., Ketkar, A., Lodeiro, M.F., Cameron, C.E., and Eoff, R.L. (2014). Kinetic analysis of human PrimPol DNA polymerase activity reveals generally error-prone enzyme capable of accurately bypassing 7,8-dihydro-8-oxo-2'-deoxyguanosine. Biochemistry 53, 6584-94. PMC4204878
  • Li, S., Guo, F., Chen, Y., Ding, X., Li, P., Cameron, C.E., Huang, T.J. (2014). Standing surface acoustic wave (SSAW)-based cell co-culture. Anal. Chem. 86, 9853-9. PMC4188268
  • Cordek, D.G., Croom-Perez, T.J., Hwang, J., Hargittai, M.R.S., Subba-Reddy, C.V., Han, Q., Lodeiro, M.F., Ning, G., McCrory, T.S., Arnold, J.J., Koc, H., Lindenbach, B.D., Showalter, S.A., and Cameron, C.E. (2014). PKA phosphorylation near a polyproline-II motif in HCV NS5A induces and SH3-binding conformation important for viral replication. J. Biol. Chem. 289, 24397-416. PMC4148867
  • Liu, Y.C., Kuo, R.L., Lin, J.Y., Huang, P.N., Liu, H., Arnold, J.J., Chen, S.J., Wang, R.Y., Cameron, C .E., and Shih, S.R. (2014). Cytoplasmic viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase disrupts the intracellular splicing machinery by entering the nucleus and interfering with Prp8. PLoS Pathog, 10, e1004199. PMC4072778
  • Alphonse, S., Arnold, J.J., Bhattacharya, S., Wang, H., Kloss, B., Cameron, C.E., and Ghose, R. (2014). Cystoviral polymerase complex protein P7 uses its acidic C-terminal tail to regulate the RNA-directed RNA polymerase P2. J. Mol. Biol. 426, 2580-93. PMC4090703
  • Liu, X., Yang, X., Lee, C.A., Moustafa, I.M., Smidansky, E.D., Lum, D., Arnold, J.J., Cameron, C.E. and Boehr, D.D. (2013). Vaccine-derived mutation in motif D of poliovirus RNA-dependent RNA polymerase lowers nucleotide incorporation fidelity. J. Biol. Chem. 288, 32753-65. PMC3820909
  • Arnold, J.J., Sharma, S.D., Feng, J.Y., Ray, A.S., Smidansky, E.D., Kireeva, M.L., Cho, A., Perry, J., Vela, J., Park, Y., Xu, Y., Tian, Y., Babusis, D., Barauskus, O., Peterson, B.R., Gnatt, A., Kashlev, M., Zhong, W. and Cameron, C.E. (2012). Sensitivity of mitochondrial transcription and resistance of RNA polymerase II dependent nuclear transcription to antiviral ribonucleosides. PLoS Pathog. 8, e1003030.
  • Weeks, S.A., Lee, C.A., Zhao, Y., Smidansky, E.D., August, A., Arnold, J.J. and Cameron, C.E. (2012). A polymerase mechanism-based strategy for viral attenuation and vaccine development. J. Biol. Chem. 287, 31618-31622.
  • Yang, X., Smidansky, E.D., Maksimchuk, K.R., Lum, D., Welch, J.L., Arnold, J.J., Cameron, C.E. and Boehr, D.D. (2012). Motif D of viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerases determines efficiency and fidelity of nucleotide addition. Structure 20, 1519-1527.
  • Trahey, M., Oh, H.S., Cameron, C.E. and Hay, J.C. (2012). Poliovirus infection transiently increases COPII vesicle budding. J. Virol. 86, 9675-9682.
  • Lodeiro, M.F., Uchida, A., Bestwick, M., Moustafa, I., Arnold, J.J., Shadel, G.S. and Cameron, C.E. (2012). Transcription from the second heavy-strand promoter of human mitochondrial DNA is repressed by transcription factor A in vitro. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. (USA) 109, 6573-6578.
  • Graci, J.D., Gnädig, N.F., Galarraga, J.E., Castro C., Vignuzzi, M. and Cameron C.E. (2012). Mutational robustness of an RNA virus influences sensitivity to lethal mutagenesis. J. Virol. 86, 2869-2873.

Review Articles

  • Li, S., Kiehne, J., Sinoway, L.I., Cameron, C.E. and Huang, T.J. (2013). Microfluidic opportunities in the field of nutrition. Lab Chip, 13, 3993-4003. PMC3875330
  • Cameron, C.E. (2013). Future virology: A mitochondriac's perspective. Future Virol. 8, 933-935.
  • Arnold, J.J., Smidansky E.D., Moustafa, I.M., and Cameron, C.E. (2012). Human mitochondrial RNA polymerase: Structure-function, mechanism and inhibition. Biochim. Biophys. Acta. 1819, 948-60.
  • Cordek, D.G., Bechtel, J.T., Maynard, A., Kazmierski, W.M. and Cameron, C.E. (2011). Targeting the NS5A protein of HCV: an emerging option. Drugs of the Future (Prous Thomson Reuters) 36, 691-711.

Book Chapters 

  • Boehr, D.D., Arnold, J.J., Moustafa, I.M., and Cameron, C.E. (2013). Structure, dynamics and fidelity of RNA-dependent RNA polymerases. In Nucleic Acid Polymerases. Murakami, K. and Trakselis, M. eds. Springer Publishers, NY, pp. 309-333.

Books and Edited Volumes

  • Cameron, C.E., Götte, M., and Raney K.D. (2009). Viral Genome Replication. Springer Publishers, NY.
  • Cameron, C.E. and Cline S.D. (2012). Mitochondrial Gene Expression. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA)- Gene Regulatory Mechanisms. Volume 1819, Issues 9-10, 913-1112.