Molecular Biology and Genetics
College of Arts & Sciences - Ithaca
Interests: Cell Signaling, Cell Trafficking, Host-Microbe Interaction, Host-Pathogen Interaction, Host-Pathogen Response, Human Health, Infection, Innate Immunity, Macrophages, Structural Biology
Our lab studies Legionella infection and host interaction.
Legionella are mainly environmental bacteria. Several species, in particular L. pneumophila and L. longbeachae, are pathogenic to humans Due to the development of artificial water systems, such as air conditioning, Legionnaries’ disease has emerged as a significant health threat in modern societies. Inhalation of L. pneumophila in contaminated aerosols allows the pathogen to reach the alveoli of the lung, where they can be phagocytosed by host macrophages. To avoid host innate immune defense, L. pneumophila delivers a large array of effector proteins into host cell through a type IV secretion system (T4SS). We recently identified one of the effector proteins, SidF is a bona fide PI phosphatase essential for the control of lipids composition of bacterial phagosomes. Intriguing questions remain to be addressed. We are interested to elucidate: (1) what is the PI composition of the bacterial containing vacuoles; (2) How the PI identity of bacterial phagosomes is established; (3) How the unique PI composition of bacterial containing vacuoles plays a role in evading host innate immune defense.