- Microbiology and Immunology Professor
Brucella species survive and replicate in host macrophages, causing chronic infections which can produce abortion and infertility in animals and a debilitating condition known as "undulant fever" in humans. Unfortunately, the mechanisms by which the brucellae establish and maintain their long term residence in host macrophages are presently unknown. The goal of the research being performed in our laboratory is to define the roles of individual gene products in allowing these bacteria to resist the environmental stresses they encounter in host macrophages. Two particular environmental stresses that are presently the focus of research in our laboratory are exposure to reactive oxygen and nitrogen species and iron deprivation. We are also examining the role of small non-coding regulatory RNAs (sRNAs) in modulating virulence gene expression in Brucella. Results obtained from these studies will not only improve our understanding of the pathogenesis of Brucella infections, but also contribute significantly to our general knowledge concerning intracellular replication by bacterial pathogens.