Viral tegument proteins and purine metabolism. Herpesviruses contain a protein-rich region, called the tegument, which serves to help the virus evade immune response and traffic the genetic material to the host replication machinery. All gammaherpesviruses contain at least one copy of a protein with homology to a purine metabolic enzyme, FGAM synthase (above, right; the blue shows the region of the protein that is conserved in the viral FGAMS). This protein is one of only a handful that makes up the viral tegument. Our group is working in collaboration with the lab of Laurie Krug, from the department of molecular genetics and microbiology, to understand the function of this tegument protein and its effect on host purine metabolism.