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Title page for ETD etd-08232011-151757

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Germane, Katherine Lynn
Author's Email Address katherine.l.germane@vanderbilt.edu
URN etd-08232011-151757
Title Structural and Functional Studies of Virulence Factor Homologs EspG and VirA
Degree PhD
Department Microbiology and Immunology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Earl Ruley Committee Chair
Benjamin Spiller Committee Member
Eric Skaar Committee Member
Ryoma Ohi Committee Member
Timothy Cover Committee Member
  • PAK
  • Shigella
  • EPEC
  • VirA
  • EspG
Date of Defense 2011-08-19
Availability unrestricted
Virulence effectors are a diverse group of proteins secreted by pathogenic bacteria to enable infection by concertedly acting to obstruct host defenses. A major step during invasion and spread for intracellular pathogens and during attachment for adherent pathogens is to alter the host cell cytoskeleton. A combination of structural and functional studies was used to probe the roles of two effectors in cytoskeleton rearrangement during pathogenesis of E. coli and Shigella. Structural studies indicate that EspG from E. coli and VirA from Shigella are structurally similar proteins, yet functional studies indicate that they have different cellular targets. EspG can functionally substitute for VirA, suggesting that these effectors target the same cellular pathway and likely bind similar ligands. Our data indicate that both effectors promote actin reorganization rather than catalyze microtubule destruction as originally proposed.
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