Hahn, Alexander, Dr.

Group Leader, Independent Junior Research Group "Herpesviruses", German Primate Center

  • 2009 PhD, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
  • 2010 Postdoctoral Fellow, New England Primate Research Center, Harvard Medical School
  • 2013 Assistant Scientist, Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami
  • 2014 Postdoctoral Researcher, Institute of Clinical and Molecular Virology, Erlangen
  • 2016 Group Leader, Independent Junior Research Group "Herpesviruses", German Primate Center

Major Research Interests

My group studies the Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) and the related rhesus monkey rhadinovirus (RRV), an animal model for many aspects of KSHV’s biology. KSHV is a lymphotropic herpesvirus that is associated with Kaposi’s sarcoma, a tumor of endothelial origin, and with two B cell malignancies. While relatively rare in most countries outside Africa, KSHV is a significant cause of cancer in sub-Saharan Africa and in immunocompromised individuals, for example in the context of HIV infection. Some of our research is also devoted to the innate immune response to these viruses, particularly in regard to cross-species transmission.
A major focus of our research is on the interaction of viral glycoproteins with cellular receptors. These receptor interactions are critical for entry of the virus into host cells and constitute an important determinant of viral tropism, governing which cell types and which tissues are infected by the virus. We already identified the Eph family receptor tyrosine kinases as important cellular receptors for KSHV and RRV, and we are currently characterizing additional receptors. Further, we seek to understand how signaling through specific receptors contributes to infection, apart from enabling entry.
Finally, we are characterizing novel virus isolates from the monkey population at the DPZ.

Homepage Department/Research Group


Selected Recent Publications

  • Hahn AS, Bischof GF, Großkopf AK, Shin YC, Domingues A, Gonzalez-Nieto L, Rakasz EG, Watkins DI, Ensser A, Martins MA, Desrosiers RC; A Recombinant Rhesus Monkey Deleted of Glycoprotein L Establishes Persistent Infection of Rhesus Macaques and Elicits Conventional T Cell Responses. J Virol. 2020 Jan 6;94(2). pii: e01093-19. doi: 10.1128/JVI.01093-19.
  • Großkopf AK, Schlagowski S, Hörnich BF, Fricke T, Desrosiers RC, Hahn AS; EphA7 functions as receptor on BJAB cells for cell-to-cell transmission of the Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) and for cell-free infection by the related rhesus monkey rhadinovirus (RRV). J Virol. 2019 May 22. pii: JVI.00064-19. doi: 10.1128/JVI.00064-19.
  • Ensser A, Großkopf AK, Mätz-Rensing K, Roos C, Hahn AS; Isolation and sequence analysis of a novel rhesus macaque foamy virus isolate with a serotype-1-like env. Archives of Virology, 2018, Jun 2, doi: 10.1007/s00705-018-3892-9.
  • Großkopf AK, Ensser A, Neipel F, Jungnickl D, Schlagowski S, Desrosiers RC, Hahn AS; A Conserved Eph Family Receptor-Binding Motif on the gH/gL Complex of Kaposi’s Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus and Rhesus Monkey Rhadinovirus. PLoS Pathogens, 2018, Feb 12;14(2):e1006912.
  • Hahn AS, Großkopf AK, Jungnickl D, Scholz B, Ensser A; Viral Fgarat Homolog ORF75 Of Rhesus Monkey Rhadinovirus Effects Proteasomal Degradation Of The ND10 Components SP100 And PML. Journal of Virology, 2016 Aug 12;90(17):8013-28.
  • Hahn AS, Desrosiers RC; Binding of the Kaposi's Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus to the Ephrin Binding Surface of the EphA2 Receptor and its Inhibition by a Small Molecule. Journal of Virology, 2014, 88(16):8724.
  • Hahn AS, Desrosiers RC; Rhesus monkey rhadinovirus uses Eph family receptors for entry into B cells and endothelial cells but not fibroblasts. PLoS Pathogens, 2013 May 16;9(5):e1003360. [OA]
  • Hahn AS, Kaufmann JK, Wies E, Naschberger E, Panteleev-Ivlev J, Schmidt K, Holzer A, Schmidt M, Chen J, König S, Ensser A, Myoung J, Brockmeyer NH, Stürzl M, Fleckenstein B, Neipel F; The ephrin receptor tyrosine kinase A2 is a cellular receptor for Kaposi’s sarcoma–associated herpesvirus. Nature Medicine, 2012 Jun;18(6):961-6.
  • Wies E*, Hahn AS*, Schmidt K, Viebahn C, Rohland N, Lux A, Schellhorn T, Holzer A, Jung JU, Neipel F; The Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus encoded vIRF-3 inhibits cellular IRF-5. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2009 Mar 27;284(13):8525-38. * shared first authors
  • Hahn A, Birkmann A, Wies E, Dorer D, Mahr K, Stürzl M, Titgemeier F, Neipel F; Kaposi’s Sarcoma Associated Herpesvirus gH/gL: Glycoprotein Export and Interaction with Cellular Receptors. Journal of Virology, 2009 Jan 1;83(1):396-407.