Gretchen Bentz, PhD

Gretchen BentzEducation

  • BS, Molecular Biology and Genetics, Juniata College
  • PhD, Microbiology and Immunology, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center-Shreveport
  • Postdoctoral Study, Virology, Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Research Interest

Currently, Dr. Bentz’s research focuses on the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), a ubiquitous herpesvirus that establishes a lifelong latent infection within the host. In the lab, Dr. Bentz investigates how these Latent Membrane Protein-1(LMP1)-induced protein modifications mediate the cellular changes observed in EBV-associated malignancies, which offers insight into how LMP1 acts as an oncoprotein. This work entails different molecular and cellular biology techniques. Along with other researchers, her work has highlighted multiple mechanisms by which the oncoprotein manipulates the cellular machinery involved in protein modifications and a function for an understudied regulatory region of LMP1. Dr. Bentz is also investigating potential therapies that target protein modifications and may augment the treatment of EBV-associated malignancies.

Selected Publications

  • Nichols, L., M. Thompson*, and GL Bentz. Comparison of clinical characteristics of a patient with Epstein-Barr virus-associated seizure and patients with COVID-19-associated seizure. Journal of Medical Virology. 2021. Jul 16. PMID: 34270105
  • Garcia, P. *, A. Harrod*, S. Jha*, J. Jenkins*, A. Barnhill*, H. Lee*, M. Thompson*, J.P. Williams*, J. Barefield*, A. Mckinnon*, P. Suarez*, A. Shah*, A.J. Lowery, and G.L. Bentz. Effects of targeting sumoylation processes during latent and induced Epstein-Barr virus infections using the small molecule inhibitor ML-792. Antiviral Research. 2021. Feb 9; 105038. Doi: 10.1016/j.antiviral.2021.105038. PMID: 33577806Corresponding Author.
  • Selby, T., N. Biel*, M. Varn*, S. Patel*, A. Patel*, L. Hilding*, A. Lowrey, C.R. Moss II, A. Ray*, and G. L. Bentz. The Epstein-Barr Virus Oncoprotein, LMP1, Regulates the Function of SENP2, a SUMO-protease. Scientific Reports. 2019. July 9:9523. Doi: 10.1038/s41598-019045825-5. PMID: 31266997Corresponding Author.
  • Bentz, G.L., A.J. Lowrey, D.C. Horne*, V. Nguyen*, A.R. Satterfield*, T.D. Ross*, A.E. Harrod*, O.N. Uchakina, and R.J. McKallip. Using glycyrrhizic acid to target sumoylation processes during Epstein-Barr virus latency. PLoS One. 2019. 2019 May 24;14(5):e0217578. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0217578. eCollection 2019. PMID: 31125383. Corresponding Author.
  • Salahuddin, S*., E.K. Fath*, N. Biel*, A. Ray*, C.R. Moss, A. Patel*, S. Patel*, L. Hilding*, M.Varn*, T. Ross*, W.T. Cramblet*, A. Lowrey, J.S. Pagano, J. Shackelford, and G.L. Bentz. 2019 Epstein-Barr Virus Latent Membrane Protein-1 Induces the Expression of SUMO-1 and SUMO-2/3 in LMP1-positive Lymphomas and Cells. Scientific Reports. 2019 Jan 18;9(1):208. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-36312-4. PMID: 30659232. Corresponding Author.
  • Lowrey, A., W. Cramblett*, and G.L. Bentz. 2017. Viral Manipulation of the Sumoylation Machinery. Cell Communication and Signaling. Jul 14; 15(1):27. PMID 28705221.
  • Bentz, G.L., C.R. Moss II, C.B. Whitehurst, C.A. Moody, and J.S. Pagano. 2015. LMP1-induced Sumoylation Influences the Maintenance of Latency Through KAP1. Journal of Virology. 89(15): 7465-77. PMID: 25948750.

Click here to see the full list of Dr. Bentz’s work.


  • R15 CA246552 Bentz (PI) 2/1/2020-1/31/2023 Manipulation of the SUMO Machinery by EBV LMP1 Role: Principal Investigator
  • Navicent Health Foundation Bentz (PI) 10/1/2020-9/31/2022 Variations in the EBV LMP1 C-terminal Domain in HIV patients in Middle GA Role: Principal Investigator
  • Mercer University Seed Grant Bentz (PI) 7/1/2019-6/30/2020 Role of Sumoylation Processes During Lytic and Latent EBV Infection Role: Principal Investigator
  • R00 CA160786 Bentz (PI) 5/1/2014-4/30/2018 The Function of EBV LMP1 CTAR3 in Sumoylation and Oncogenesis Pathway to Independence Award: To gain insight into how LMP1 affects sumoylation processes within latently infected cells, influencing its oncogenic potential. Role: Principal Investigator
  • K99 CA160786 Bentz (PI) 1/1/2013-12/31/2013 The Function of EBV LMP1 CTAR3 in Sumoylation and Oncogenesis Pathway to Independence Award: To gain insight into how LMP1 affects sumoylation processes within latently infected cells, influencing its oncogenic potential.

Professional Involvement

  • Associate Editor for the Journal of Medical Virology
  • Reviewer
    • NIH AREA/REAP: Infectious Diseases and Immunology Study Section
    • Discovery Award Infectious Diseases for the PRMRP for the DOD

Contact Dr. Gretchen Bentz