Erica Sanchez

Erica L. Sanchez

( She/Her/Hers )
Assistant Professor
University of Washington (PhD), University of California Davis (BS)
Phone: -
Location: HH 722

Field: Cell and Molecular Biology

At SF State Since: 2020 

Specialties: Kaposi's Sarcoma Herpesvirus (KSHV) G Protein-Coupled Receptor (vGPCR) contribution to metabolic regulation during infection Trafficking and signaling of KSHV vGPCR Molecular Biology techniques, Tissue Culture techniques, Experimental Design, and project management 

Viruses have evolved to modulate host cell metabolism to ensure optimal replication and spread (1). My graduate work revealed that glycolysis, fatty acid synthesis, and amino acid metabolism are critical during infection with Kaposi’s Sarcoma Herpesvirus (KSHV), a cancer-causing virus (2–4). Herpesviruses establish lifelong infections in their hosts and express numerous homologues of host genes (5). For example, KSHV has hijacked a copy of a G protein-coupled Receptors (GPCR) from the host genome, which it expresses during infection (6). Interestingly, my postdoctoral research has focused on understanding how cellular-GPCR signaling controls cellular metabolism (7). My data show that GPCR signaling from both the plasma membrane as well as the endosomal membrane contribute to transcriptional control of metabolic genes. We hypothesize that the viral GPCR (vGPCR), expressed by KSHV, regulates host cell metabolism. Determining the molecular mechanisms activated by vGPCR can uncover potential therapeutic targets to treat KSHV infection.

My interdisciplinary research program focuses on the molecular biology of host-pathogen interactions. I am excited to collaborate with SFSU faculty, the GTAC facility, and the CMIC to accomplish our lab's research goals. My proposed research will establish a new model for investigating viral influence on host cell metabolism, combining techniques and tools from both my graduate and postdoctoral work. This research is designed to inspire undergraduate and masters student researchers interested in exploring human disease at the molecular level.

My lab aims to provide a space for eager students, at all levels, to develop and practice their research skills. Contact me if you are interested in learning more!


1. Sanchez, E. L. & Lagunoff, M. Viral activation of cellular metabolism. Virology 479–480, 609–618 (2015).

2. Delgado, T., Sanchez, E. L., Camarda, R. & Lagunoff, M. Global Metabolic Profiling of Infection by an Oncogenic Virus: KSHV Induces and Requires Lipogenesis for Survival of Latent Infection. PLoS Pathog. 8, (2012).

3. Sanchez, E. L., Carroll, P. A., Thalhofer, A. B. & Lagunoff, M. Latent KSHV Infected Endothelial Cells Are Glutamine Addicted and Require Glutaminolysis for Survival. PLoS Pathog. 11, e1005052 (2015).

4. Sanchez, E. L. et al. Glycolysis, Glutaminolysis, and Fatty Acid Synthesis Are Required for Distinct Stages of Kaposi’s Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus Lytic Replication. J. Virol. (2017). doi:10.1128/JVI.02237-16

5. Fields, B. N., Knipe, D. M. & Howley, P. M. Fields Virology. Fields Virology 2, (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2007).

6. Zhang, J., Feng, H., Xu, S. & Feng, P. Hijacking GPCRs by viral pathogens and tumor. Biochemical Pharmacology (2016). doi:10.1016/j.bcp.2016.03.021

7. Hauser, H. et al. HIV-1 Vpu and HIV-2 Env counteract BST-2/tetherin by sequestration in a perinuclear compartment. Retrovirology 7, 51 (2010).