Office: (859) 323-6538
Fax: (859) 257-8994
Lab: (859) 257-5543
Susan Straley, Ph.D.
Doctoral Studies: Cornell University.
Postdoctoral: Princeton University, University of Kentucky, Michigan State University.
Sue Straley's lab studies the plague bacterium Yersinia pestis. Plague is highly acute disease, killing animals before they mount an effective immune response. One way the bacteria achieve this is by delivering a set of toxins called Yops into host cells. Contact between Y. pestis and a mammalian cell activates a delivery mechanism that injects virulence proteins called Yops into the cell. The proteins manipulate cellular signaling mechanisms and cause a profound immunosuppression. In collaboration with Drs. Kaplan and Cohen, Dr. Straley's lab is identifying the molecular targets in host cells for one of the Yops, YopM. They have found that YopM causes depletion of NK cells and failure to recruit inflammatory monocytes, both of which are key early innate defense cells against infections. The question is, how does YopM do this?
A new project in Dr. Straley's lab aims to discover the virulence mechanism of a novel ternary collaboration of linked trimeric surface proteins called YadB and YadC and a surface protease called Pla. YadC also is a candidate for inclusion in an improved plague vaccine, because mice that are vaccinated with YadC are protected against plague.
These studies are revealing key steps that are crucial to the development of devastating disease and thus will identify possible ways to prevent and treat plague as well as other important bacterial infections.
Selected Recent Publications:
Ye, Z., A. M. Uittenbogaard, D. A. Cohen, A. M. Kaplan, J. Ambati, and S. C. Straley. 2011. Distinct CCR2+ cells control growth of DyopM Yersinia pestis in liver and spleen during systemic plague. Infect. Immun. epublication on 12-14-10, print, 79: 674-687.
Ye, Z., E. J. Kerschen, D. A. Cohen, A. M. Kaplan, N. van Rooijen, and S. C. Straley. 2009. Gr1+ Cells control growth of YopM-negative Yersinia pestis during systemic plague. Infect. Immun. Jul 6. [Epub ahead of print].
Fowler, J. F., C. R. Wulff, S. C. Straley, and R. R. Brubaker. 2009. Growth of calcium-blind mutants of Yersinia pestis at 37oC in permissive Ca2+-deficient environments. Microbiology. 155(Pt 8):2509-21 (2009).
Forman, S., C. R. Wulff, T. Myers-Morales, C. Cowan, R. D. Perry, and S. C. Straley. 2007. yadBC of Yersinia pestis, a new virulence determinant for bubonic plague. Infect. Immun. 76(2): 578-587.