Dr. Jingxin Cao
Adjunct Professor,
Department of Medical Microbiology, University of Manitoba ,
Research Scientist, Division of Viral Diseases 

Degrees: B.Sc. China Agricultural University, China, 1985, M.Sc. University of Surrey, U.K., 1988, Ph.D., University of Surrey, U.K., 1991

Mailing Address: National Microbiology Laboratory,
The Public Health Agency of Canada
1015 Arlington Street
Winnipeg, MB, R3E 3R2

Ph: (204)-789-6052
Fax: (204)-789-2082

Research Interests:

My laboratory is primarily focused on understanding how cells react to defend a virus infection and how a virus counteracts such cellular defense in order to replicate in its host cells. Our ultimate goal is to utilize the knowledge generated from such studies to design better therapeutic/prophylactic agents for viral infectious diseases.

We are using vaccinia virus as a model system in our investigation. Vaccinia virus, a member of the poxvirus family, is a large DNA virus and has been used as a vaccine to eradicate smallpox. Two features make vaccinia virus the ideal model for our investigation. First, vaccinia virus encodes several immuno-modulators to neutralize host cell immune responses, and this feature makes vaccinia virus an ideal model for studying the mechanisms of cellular defensive responses against a virus infection and the viral counter measures. Second, vaccinia virus has been widely used as a vector for recombinant vaccines against various infectious diseases and cancers, and this feature can allow us to use the knowledge generated from the virus-cell interaction study to design a safer and yet more effective therapeutic/prophylactic agent for infectious diseases and/or cancers.

The specific vaccinia virus encoded immuno-modulator we are currently focusing on is called E3L. E3L is made at very early stage of vaccinia virus replication and is a double stranded RNA binding protein. Double stranded RNAs are important pathogen associated molecular pattern and is responsible for a variety of cellular innate immune responses against virus infection, such as interferon and TNF responses. The mutant vaccinia virus without E3L shows very restricted host range. In other words, E3L plays essential roles in virus counteracting some critical cellular defensive response (likely induced by dsRNA) against the virus infection. Currently, we are investigating following areas.

  1. The roles and mechanisms of E3L in suppressing cytokine, such as interferon, induced antiviral activities.
  2. Application of vaccinia virus E3L deletion mutant as a model system to examine other viral proteins, which have potentials to suppressing similar cellular antiviral activities. Examples are influenza NS1 and hepatitis C virus nonstructural proteins.
  3. The effects and mechanisms of E3L suppressing cytokine expression, particularly those important for innate and adaptive immunities.
  4. Identification of pathogen-associated-molecular-patterns in vaccinia virus infection, particularly those inducing interferon and TNF.
  5. Effects of E3L on the immunogenicity of vaccinia virus as a vector for recombinant vaccines.


For an up to date link to publications from Dr. Cao please click here

  1. Role of the Serin-Threonine Kinase PAK-1 in Myxoma Virus Replication J. B. Johnston, J. W. Barrett, Wen Chang, Che-Sheng Chung, W. Zeng, Jennefer Masters, M. Mann, Fuan Wang, Jingxin Cao , and Grant McFadden, Journal of Virology 2003, 77(10):5877-5888
  2. Activation of AP-1 signal transduction pathway by SARS Coronavirus nucleocapsid protein Runtao He, A. Leeson, A Andonov, Y. Li, N. Bastien, Jingxin Cao , C. Osipwy, F. Dobie, T. Cutts, M. Ballantine, and X. Li.  Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 2003, 311:870-876
  3. Analysis of multimerization of the SARS coronavirus nucleocapsid protein. He R, Dobie F, Ballantine M, Leeson A, Li Y, Bastien N, Cutts T, Andonov A, Cao J , Booth TF, Plummer FA, Tyler S, Baker L, Li X.  Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2004 Apr 2;316(2):476-83.
  4. Potent and selective inhibition of SARS coronavirus replication by aurintricarboxylic acid. He R, Adonov A, Traykova-Adonova M, Cao J , Cutts T, Grudesky E, Deschambaul Y, Berry J, Drebot M, Li X. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2004 Aug 6;320(4):1199-203.
  5. Characterization of protein-protein interactions between the nucleocapsid protein and membrane protein of the SARS coronavirus He R, Leeson A, Ballantine M, Andonov A, Baker L, Dobie F, Li Y, Bastien N, Feldmann H, Strocher U, Theriault S, Cutts T, Cao J , Booth TF, Plummer FA, Tyler S, Li X.  Virus Res. 2004 Oct;105(2):121-5.
  6. Immunization with modified vaccinia virus Ankara based recombinant SARS vaccine is associated with enhanced hepatitis in ferrets Hana Weingartl, Markus Czub , Stefanie Czub, James Neufeld, Peter Marszal, Jason Gren, Greg Smith, Shane Jones, Roxanne Proulx, Yvonne Deschambault, Elsie Grudeski, Anton Andonov, Runtao He, Yan Li, John Copps, Allen Grolla, Daryl Dick, Jody Berry, Shelley Ganske, Lisa Manning, Jingxin Cao, Journal of Virology 2004, 78(22):12672-12676
  7. Evaluation of modified vaccinia virus Ankara based recombinanr SARS vaccine in ferrets Markus Czub, Hana Weingartl, Stephanie Czub, Runtao He, Jingxin Cao, Vaccine 2005, 23(17-18):2271-2277
  8. Aurintricarboxylic acid inhibits the early stage of vaccinia virus replication by targeting both cellular and viral factors Myskiw C, Deschambault Y, Jefferies K, He R, Cao J ., J. Virol. 2007, 81:3027-3032
  9. RIG-I mediates the co-induction of tumor necrosis factor and type I interferon elicited by myxoma virus in primary human macrophages. Wang F, Gao X, Barrett JW, Shao Q, Bartee E, Mohamed MR, Rahman M, Werden S, Irvine T, Cao J , Dekaban GA, McFadden, G. PLoS Pathog. 2008, 11;4(7):e1000099.
  10. Antagonizing activity of vaccinia virus E3L against human interferons in Huh7 cells.  Arsenio J, Deschambault Y, Cao J . Virology. 2008, 20;377(1):124-32.
  11. Vaccinia virus E3L suppresses cytokine expression through inhibition of p38, NF-?B and IRF3 activation Chad Myskiw, Janilyn Arsenio, Rebekah van Bruggen, Yvon Deschambault, Jingxin Cao, (manuscript in preparation)

Laboratory Members

Mr. Yvon Deschambault Technician
204 - 789-5074
Miss Janilyn Arsenio Ph.D. Student
204 - 789-5074
Mr. Chad Myskiw Ph.D. Student
204 - 789-5074
Mr. Kevin Dick Technician
204 - 789-5074
Miss Laura Doody Coop Student
204 - 789-5074
Miss Rebekah van Bruggen Technician
204 - 789-5074