Susan Hafenstein

Director of the Center for Structural Biology; Huck Chair of Structural Virology; Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Susan Hafenstein

Research Summary

Using a structural approach to learn more about viral infectivity, tropism, evolution and pathogenicity. Developing approaches to visualize critical events that cause a break from the regular symmetry of the virus, including packaging of the genome, receptor usage, antibody interactions and uncoating of the viral genome during the final stages of infection.

Huck Graduate Students

Huck Affiliations


Publication Tags

Capsid Viruses Mutation Enterovirus Genome Antibodies Parvovirus Canine Parvovirus Cryoelectron Microscopy Carnivore Protoparvovirus 1 Amino Acids Receptors Protoparvovirus Infection Host Specificity Dogs Host Range Capsid Proteins Cells Genes Transferrin Receptors Crystal Structure Cd55 Antigens Deterioration Dna

Most Recent Papers

High resolution cryo EM analysis of HPV16 identifies minor structural protein L2 and describes capsid flexibility.

D Goetschius, S Hartmann, S Subramanian, C Bator, N Christensen, Susan Hafenstein, 2021, Scientific reports on p. 3498

Antibody escape by polyomavirus capsid mutation facilitates neurovirulence

Matthew D. Lauver, Daniel J. Goetschius, Colleen S. Netherby-Winslow, Katelyn N. Ayers, Ge Jin, Daniel G. Haas, Elizabeth L. Frost, Sung Hyun Cho, Carol M. Bator, Stephanie M. Bywaters, Neil D. Christensen, Susan L. Hafenstein, Aron E. Lukacher, 2020, eLife on p. 1-68

Scaffold Simplification Strategy Leads to a Novel Generation of Dual Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Enterovirus-A71 Entry Inhibitors

Belén Martínez-Gualda, Liang Sun, Olaia Martí-Marí, Sam Noppen, Rana Abdelnabi, Carol M. Bator, Ernesto Quesada, Leen Delang, Carmen Mirabelli, Hyunwook Lee, Dominique Schols, Johan Neyts, Susan Hafenstein, María José Camarasa, Federico Gago, Ana San-Félix, 2020, Journal of Medicinal Chemistry on p. 349-368

Limited intrahost diversity and background evolution accompany 40 years of canine parvovirus host adaptation and spread

Ian E.H. Voorhees, Hyunwook Lee, Andrew B. Allison, Robert Lopez-Astacio, Laura B. Goodman, Oyebola O. Oyesola, Olutayo Omobowale, Olusegun Fagbohun, Edward J. Dubovi, Susan L. Hafenstein, Edward C. Holmes, Colin R. Parrish, 2020, Journal of Virology

Filling Adeno-Associated Virus Capsids: Estimating Success by Cryo-Electron Microscopy

Suriyasri Subramanian, Anna C. Maurer, Carol M. Bator, Alexander M. Makhov, James F. Conway, Kevin B. Turner, James H. Marden, Luk H. Vandenberghe, Susan L. Hafenstein, 2019, Human Gene Therapy on p. 1449-1460

Transferrin receptor binds virus capsid with dynamic motion

Hyunwook Lee, Heather M. Callaway, Javier O. Cifuente, Carol M. Bator, Colin R. Parrish, Susan L. Hafenstein, 2019, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America on p. 20462-20471

Asymmetry in icosahedral viruses

D. Goetschius, C. Parrish, Susan Hafenstein, 2019, Current Opinion in Virology on p. 67-73

Parvovirus B19 uncoating occurs in the cytoplasm without capsid disassembly and it is facilitated by depletion of capsid-associated divalent cations

Oliver Caliaro, Andrea Marti, Nico Ruprecht, Remo Leisi, Suriyasri Subramanian, Susan Hafenstein, Carlos Ros, 2019, Viruses on p. 430

Examination and reconstruction of three ancient endogenous parvovirus capsid protein gene remnants found in rodent genomes

Heather M. Callaway, Suriyasri Subramanian, Christian A. Urbina, Karen N. Barnard, Robert A. Dick, Carol M. Bator, Susan L. Hafenstein, Robert J. Gifford, Colin R. Parrish, 2019, Journal of Virology

Complex and dynamic interactions between parvovirus capsids, transferrin receptors, and antibodies control cell infection and host range

Heather M. Callaway, Kathrin Welsch, Wendy Weichert, Andrew B. Allison, Susan L. Hafenstein, Kai Huang, Sho Iketani, Colin R. Parrish, 2018, Journal of Virology

Most-Cited Papers

The Enterovirus 71 A-particle Forms a Gateway to Allow Genome Release

Kristin L. Shingler, Jennifer L. Yoder, Michael S. Carnegie, Robert E. Ashley, Alexander M. Makhov, James F. Conway, Susan Hafenstein, 2013, PLoS Pathogens

Group Selection and Contribution of Minority Variants during Virus Adaptation Determines Virus Fitness and Phenotype

Antonio V. Bordería, Ofer Isakov, Gonzalo Moratorio, Rasmus Henningsson, Sonia Agüera-González, Lindsey Organtini, Nina F. Gnädig, Hervé Blanc, Andrés Alcover, Susan Hafenstein, Magnus Fontes, Noam Shomron, Marco Vignuzzi, 2015, PLoS Pathogens

The crystal structure of a coxsackievirus B3-RD variant and a refined 9-angstrom cryo-electron microscopy reconstruction of the virus complexed with decay-accelerating factor (DAF) provide a new footprint of DAF on the virus surface

Joshua D. Yoder, Javier O. Cifuente, Jieyan Pan, Jeffrey M. Bergelson, Susan Hafenstein, 2012, Journal of Virology on p. 12571-12581

Structure of a packaging-defective mutant of minute virus of mice indicates that the genome is packaged via a pore at a 5-fold axis

Pavel Plevka, Susan Hafenstein, Lei Li, Anthony D'Abramo, Susan F. Cotmore, Michael G. Rossmann, Peter Tattersall, 2011, Journal of Virology on p. 4822-4827

Kinetic and structural analysis of coxsackievirus B3 receptor interactions and formation of the A-particle

Lindsey J. Organtini, Alexander M. Makhov, James F. Conway, Susan Hafenstein, Steven D. Carsonc, 2014, Journal of Virology on p. 5755-5765

The role of evolutionary intermediates in the host adaptation of canine parvovirus

Karla M. Stucker, Israel Pagan, Javier O. Cifuente, Jason T. Kaelber, Tyler D. Lillie, Susan Hafenstein, Edward C. Holmes, Colin R. Parrish, 2012, Journal of Virology on p. 1514-1521

Cryoelectron Microscopy Maps of Human Papillomavirus 16 Reveal L2 Densities and Heparin Binding Site

Jian Guan, Stephanie M. Bywaters, Sarah A. Brendle, Robert E. Ashley, Alexander M. Makhov, James F. Conway, Neil D. Christensen, Susan Hafenstein, 2017, Structure with Folding & design on p. 253-263

Single amino acid changes in the virus capsid permit coxsackievirus B3 to bind decay-accelerating factor

Jieyan Pan, Bhargavi Narayanan, Shardule Shah, Joshua D. Yoder, Javier O. Cifuente, Susan Hafenstein, Jeffrey M. Bergelson, 2011, Journal of Virology on p. 7436-7443

Global displacement of canine parvovirus by a host-adapted variant

Lindsey J. Organtini, Andrew B. Allison, Tiit Lukk, Colin R. Parrish, Susan Hafenstein, 2015, Journal of Virology on p. 1909-1912

Single mutations in the VP2 300 loop region of the three-fold spike of the carnivore parvovirus capsid can determine host range

Andrew B. Allison, Lindsey J. Organtini, Sheng Zhang, Susan L. Hafenstein, Edward C. Holmes, Colin R. Parrish, 2016, Journal of Virology on p. 753-767

News Articles Featuring Susan Hafenstein

Altered 'coat' disguises fatal brain virus from neutralizing antibodies

A genetic modification in the ‘coat’ of a brain infection-causing virus may allow it to escape antibodies, according to Penn State College of Medicine researchers.

Scientists pinpoint how the deadly canine parvovirus learned to infect dogs in the 1970s

Canine parvovirus, a highly contagious and deadly virus of dogs, initially infected cats and other animals long before it acquired a few mutations and started a worldwide epidemic in the late 1970s. Now, a team led by the Baker Institute’s Dr. Colin Parrishhave worked with Dr. Susan Hafenstein’s laboratory at Penn State University to show exactly how parvovirus enters canine cells, and it’s a surprisingly wobbly interaction.

Virus may jump species through 'rock-and-roll' motion with receptors

Like a janitor thumbing through a keychain to find just the right key to open a lock, the "rock-and-roll" motion of the canine parvovirus during the binding process may help explain how the virus can find the spot on a receptor to infect not just dogs, but multiple species, according to an international team of researchers.

Resolution Revolution: Penn State welcomes a new era of atomic-level imaging with cryo EM facility

Using extreme cold to arrest fluid samples in motion, cryo EM allows researchers to see proteins, clusters of molecules, and viruses with astounding clarity—to the point where individual atoms may become visible.

Scientists discover weakness in common cold virus

An indentation on the surface of the viruses that cause a multitude of illnesses, including the common cold, has been discovered. Scientists believe this vulnerability marks a weak spot on the viruses that antiviral medications could target to administer effective treatment for colds and polio, among other illnesses

A tiny crater on viruses behind the common cold may be their Achilles’ heel

A newly discovered indentation on the surface of viruses that cause many illnesses, including the common cold, could be their Achilles’ heel — and a possible target for effective drugs.