Doctor of Philosophy, Stanford University, MI-PHD (2021)
B.S., UC Davis, Biotechnology with emphasis in Microbiology/Fermentation (2010)
Denise Monack, Postdoctoral Faculty Sponsor
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In mammalian cells, inflammatory caspases detect Gram-negative bacterial invasion by binding lipopolysaccharides (LPS). Murine caspase-11 binds cytosolic LPS, stimulates pyroptotic cell death, and drives sepsis pathogenesis. Extracellular priming factors enhance caspase-11-dependent pyroptosis. Herein we compare priming agents and demonstrate that IFNgamma priming elicits the most rapid and amplified macrophage response to cytosolic LPS. Previous studies indicate that IFN-induced expression of caspase-11 and guanylate binding proteins (GBPs) are causal events explaining the effects of priming on cytosolic LPS sensing. We demonstrate that these events cannot fully account for the increased response triggered by IFNgamma treatment. Indeed, IFNgamma priming elicits higher pyroptosis levels in response to cytosolic LPS when macrophages stably express caspase-11. In macrophages lacking GBPs encoded on chromosome 3, IFNgamma priming enhanced pyroptosis in response to cytosolic LPS as compared with other priming agents. These results suggest an unknown regulator of caspase-11-dependent pyroptosis exists, whose activity is upregulated by IFNgamma.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.isci.2020.101612
View details for PubMedID 33089101
The various sub-species of Salmonella enterica cause a range of disease in human hosts. The human-adapted Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi enters the gastrointestinal tract and invades systemic sites to cause enteric (typhoid) fever. In contrast, most non-typhoidal serovars of Salmonella are primarily restricted to gut tissues. Across Africa, invasive non-typhoidal Salmonella (iNTS) have emerged with an ability to spread beyond the gastrointestinal tract and cause systemic bloodstream infections with increased morbidity and mortality. To investigate this evolution in pathogenesis, we compared the genomes of African iNTS isolates with other Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium and identified several macA and macB gene variants unique to African iNTS. MacAB forms a tripartite efflux pump with TolC and is implicated in Salmonella pathogenesis. We show that macAB transcription is upregulated during macrophage infection and after antimicrobial peptide exposure, with macAB transcription being supported by the PhoP/Q two-component system. Constitutive expression of macAB improves survival of Salmonella in the presence of the antimicrobial peptide C18G. Furthermore, these macAB variants affect replication in macrophages and influence fitness during colonization of the murine gastrointestinal tract. Importantly, the infection outcome resulting from these macAB variants depends upon both the Salmonella Typhimurium genetic background and the host gene Nramp1, an important determinant of innate resistance to intracellular bacterial infection. The variations we have identified in the MacAB-TolC efflux pump in African iNTS may reflect evolution within human host populations that are compromised in their ability to clear intracellular Salmonella infections.
View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.ppat.1008763
View details for PubMedID 32834002
Many intracellular bacteria can establish chronic infection and persist in tissues within granulomas composed of macrophages. Granuloma macrophages exhibit heterogeneous polarization states, or phenotypes, that may be functionally distinct. Here, we elucidate a host-pathogen interaction that controls granuloma macrophage polarization and long-term pathogen persistence during Salmonella Typhimurium (STm) infection. We show that STm persists within splenic granulomas that are densely populated by CD11b+CD11c+Ly6C+ macrophages. STm preferentially persists in granuloma macrophages reprogrammed to an M2 state, in part through the activity of the effector SteE, which contributes to the establishment of persistent infection. We demonstrate that tumor necrosis factor (TNF) signaling limits M2 granuloma macrophage polarization, thereby restricting STm persistence. TNF neutralization shifts granuloma macrophages toward an M2 state and increases bacterial persistence, and these effects are partially dependent on SteE activity. Thus, manipulating granuloma macrophage polarization represents a strategy for intracellular bacteria to overcome host restriction during persistent infection.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.chom.2019.11.011
View details for PubMedID 31883922
Many Gram-negative bacterial pathogens antagonize anti-bacterial immunity through translocated effector proteins that inhibit pro-inflammatory signaling. Inaddition, the intracellular pathogen Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium initiates an anti-inflammatorytranscriptional response in macrophages through its effector protein SteE. However, the target(s) and molecular mechanism of SteE remain unknown. Here, we demonstrate that SteE converts both the amino acid and substrate specificity of the host pleiotropic serine/threonine kinase GSK3. SteE itself is a substrate of GSK3, and phosphorylationof SteE is required for its activity. Remarkably, phosphorylated SteE then forces GSK3 to phosphorylate the non-canonical substrate signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) on tyrosine-705. This results in STAT3 activation, which along with GSK3 is required for SteE-mediated upregulation of the anti-inflammatory M2 macrophage marker interleukin-4Ralpha (IL-4Ralpha). Overall, the conversion of GSK3 to a tyrosine-directed kinase representsa tightly regulated event that enables a bacterial virulence protein to reprogram innate immune signaling and establish an anti-inflammatory environment.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.chom.2019.11.002
View details for PubMedID 31862381
Inflammasomes are a formidable armada of intracellular pattern recognition receptors. They recognize determinants of infection, such as foreign entities or danger signals within the host cell cytosol, rapidly executing innate immune defenses and initiating adaptive immune responses. Although inflammasomes are implicated in many diseases, they are especially critical in host protection against intracellular bacterial pathogens. Given this role, it is not surprising that many pathogens have evolved effective strategies to evade inflammasome activation. In this review, we will provide a brief summary of inflammasome activation during infection with the intent of highlighting recent advances in the field. Additionally, we will review known bacterial evasion strategies and countermeasures that impact pathogenesis.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.coi.2019.05.001
View details for PubMedID 31174046
The Flaviviridae are a family of viruses that cause severe human diseases. For example, dengue virus (DENV) is a rapidly emerging pathogen causing an estimated 100 million symptomatic infections annually worldwide. No approved antivirals are available to date and clinical trials with a tetravalent dengue vaccine showed disappointingly low protection rates. Hepatitis C virus (HCV) also remains a major medical problem, with 160 million chronically infected patients worldwide and only expensive treatments available. Despite distinct differences in their pathogenesis and modes of transmission, the two viruses share common replication strategies. A detailed understanding of the host functions that determine viral infection is lacking. Here we use a pooled CRISPR genetic screening strategy to comprehensively dissect host factors required for these two highly important Flaviviridae members. For DENV, we identified endoplasmic-reticulum (ER)-associated multi-protein complexes involved in signal sequence recognition, N-linked glycosylation and ER-associated degradation. DENV replication was nearly completely abrogated in cells deficient in the oligosaccharyltransferase (OST) complex. Mechanistic studies pinpointed viral RNA replication and not entry or translation as the crucial step requiring the OST complex. Moreover, we show that viral non-structural proteins bind to the OST complex. The identified ER-associated protein complexes were also important for infection by other mosquito-borne flaviviruses including Zika virus, an emerging pathogen causing severe birth defects. By contrast, the most significant genes identified in the HCV screen were distinct and included viral receptors, RNA-binding proteins and enzymes involved in metabolism. We found an unexpected link between intracellular flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD) levels and HCV replication. This study shows notable divergence in host-depenency factors between DENV and HCV, and illuminates new host targets for antiviral therapy.
View details for DOI 10.1038/nature18631
View details for Web of Science ID 000379015600044
View details for PubMedID 27383987
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4964798
Grass cell wall properties influence food, feed, and biofuel feedstock usage efficiency. The glucuronoarabinoxylan of grass cell walls is esterified with the phenylpropanoid-derived hydroxycinnamic acids ferulic acid (FA) and para-coumaric acid (p-CA). Feruloyl esters undergo oxidative coupling with neighboring phenylpropanoids on glucuronoarabinoxylan and lignin. Examination of rice (Oryza sativa) mutants in a grass-expanded and -diverged clade of BAHD acyl-coenzyme A-utilizing transferases identified four mutants with altered cell wall FA or p-CA contents. Here, we report on the effects of overexpressing one of these genes, OsAt10 (LOC_Os06g39390), in rice. An activation-tagged line, OsAT10-D1, shows a 60% reduction in matrix polysaccharide-bound FA and an approximately 300% increase in p-CA in young leaf tissue but no discernible phenotypic alterations in vegetative development, lignin content, or lignin composition. Two additional independent OsAt10 overexpression lines show similar changes in FA and p-CA content. Cell wall fractionation and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry experiments isolate the cell wall alterations in the mutant to ester conjugates of a five-carbon sugar with p-CA and FA. These results suggest that OsAT10 is a p-coumaroyl coenzyme A transferase involved in glucuronoarabinoxylan modification. Biomass from OsAT10-D1 exhibits a 20% to 40% increase in saccharification yield depending on the assay. Thus, OsAt10 is an attractive target for improving grass cell wall quality for fuel and animal feed.
View details for DOI 10.1104/pp.112.208694
View details for Web of Science ID 000316987900004
View details for PubMedID 23391577
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3613443