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  • Duke University Center for Microbial Pathogenesis
    that was resistant and had much milder infections C57BL 6J or C57 These two mouse strains had been further modified so that the more resistant C57 mice were bred to contain both versions of one chromosome from the susceptible A J strain These modified mice were commercially available at Jackson Labs This lucky break allowed us to narrow our search for genes governing susceptibility to S aureus from 21 chromosomes to just three Fowler said We finally narrowed the search to two genes on chromosome 18 and were able to show that each of these genes appears to influence the immune response to S aureus The team tested one chromosome substitution strain at a time narrowing the staph susceptibility down to chromosomes 8 11 and 18 They focused on these three chromosomes because the more resistant mice that received the wimpier mouse chromosome 8 11 or 18 were found to have the poorest survival times after infection Next they examined the genes on these three chromosomes that were expressed differently when the resistant and susceptible mice were infected with SA For chromosome 18 they used Quantitative Trait Loci QTL mapping to narrow the search even further by identifying the genetic reassortments present in the offspring of sensitive versus resistant mice They found 10 candidate genes Next they silenced each of these genes one at a time to see which had an impact on the immune cells Of the 10 genes the investigators found two that influenced the immune system Fowler credits postdoctoral researcher Sun Hee Ahn PhD with doing most of the painstaking work involved in the series of experiments Detailed examinations of chromosomes 8 and 11 remain to be done Fowler said that it s possible the genes they uncovered could play a role in other types of bacterial

    Original URL path: http://mgm.duke.edu/microbial/news/fowler_3.html (2014-06-13)
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  • Duke University Center for Microbial Pathogenesis
    the 1890s Featuring more than 100 expert authors from around the world this book offers the full range of scientific and clinical perspectives needed to create this unique comprehensive overview of Cryptococcus It covers both the Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii species examining in detail the life cycle pathophysiology molecular biology genetics genomics epidemiology immunology and clinical management of this encapsulated yeast Among the 44 chapters readers will find several in depth discussions of the C gattii outbreak that began on Vancouver Island in 1999 and then spread into the mainland of Canada and the United States causing infections in both humans and animals According to the ASM Press this book s detailed thorough reviews of all the latest advances and progress in the field set a new standard for publications dedicated to a single fungal pathogen While the book is dedicated to Cryptococcus it does draw analogies to other pathogenic fungi and more broadly to other microbial pathogens Moreover this volume demonstrates why Cryptococcus has become a model system for the study and understanding of fungal pathogenesis As a result molecular biologists microbiologists public health officials epidemiologists and infectious disease clinicians will all find this clearly written carefully referenced

    Original URL path: http://mgm.duke.edu/microbial/news/heitman_7.html (2014-06-13)
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  • Duke University Center for Microbial Pathogenesis
    Association Predoctoral Fellowship The fellowship is designed to help students initiate careers in cardiovascular and stroke research by providing research assistance and training Shertz works in the laboratory of Joseph Heitman MD PhD James B Duke Professor and Chair of the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology and Director of the Center for Microbial Pathogenesis The American Heart Association AHA is a non profit organization in the United States that

    Original URL path: http://mgm.duke.edu/microbial/news/shertz_1.html (2014-06-13)
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  • Duke University Center for Microbial Pathogenesis
    researchers said Most have a more complicated clinical course than people infected with the more common Cryptococcus neoformans Because the strain is so virulent when it infects some humans and animals the researchers are calling for greater awareness and vigilance Testing involves culturing the fungus and then sequencing its DNA to learn whether it is the virulent or more benign strain which could affect treatment plans Some strains of C gattii are not more virulent than C neoformans for example but doctors need to know what type they are dealing with Byrnes said Using molecular techniques the geneticists uncovered clues that showed the Oregon only fungal type most likely arose recently in addition to an outbreak of C gattii that began in Canada in 1999 that has now spread into Washington and Oregon Symptoms can appear two to several months after exposure and may include a cough lasting weeks sharp chest pain shortness of breath headache related to meningitis fever nighttime sweats and weight loss In animals the symptoms are a runny nose breathing problems nervous system problems and raised bumps under the skin While C gattii can be treated it cannot be prevented there is no vaccine The new type of C gattii reproduces both sexually and asexually The more virulent strain may have genetically recombined with related but less harmful strains This novel genotype is highly virulent compared with similar isolates of Cryptococcus that are not causing disease outbreaks The researchers found that the novel genotype VGIIc is now a major source of C gattii illness in Oregon Because C gattii types had been found in tropical areas before co lead author Wenjun Li MD PhD of Duke Molecular Genetics and Microbiology speculates that environmental changes may be responsible for the evolution and emergence of this pathogen Determining

    Original URL path: http://mgm.duke.edu/microbial/news/heitman_6.html (2014-06-13)
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  • Duke University Center for Microbial Pathogenesis
    Duke Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology Inositol is abundant in the human brain and in the fluid that bathes it cerebral spinal fluid which may be why this fungus has a predilection to infect the brain and cause meningitis Heitman said It has the machinery to efficiently move sugar molecules inside of its cells and thrive The findings on Cryptococcus genes were published online this week in the inaugural issue of mBio a new open access microbiology journal This specialized brain attack likely occurred because these fungi adapted to grow on plants in the wild which also are abundant in inositol said lead author Chaoyang Xue PhD formerly a postdoctoral research associate in the Heitman lab and now an assistant professor at the Public Health Research Institute at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey In fact this pathogenic yeast has more inositol transporters than all other fungi we have compared it to in the fungal kingdom based on what we know from genome research The team of researchers discovered that inositol stimulates Cryptococcus to sexually reproduce A connection between the high concentration of free inositol and fungal infection in the human brain is suggested by our studies Xue said Establishing such a connection could open up a new way to control this deadly fungus Cryptococcus love for sugar may also be a fungal Achilles heel Heitman said Now scientists may be able to target the fungi by developing ways to put them on the fungal equivalent of an Atkin s low carbohydrate diet so they will stop multiplying He said researchers could use the new findings to devise different types of strategies to block Cryptococcus infections These studies will be reported in the inaugural issue of the journal mBio which will be launched in May by

    Original URL path: http://mgm.duke.edu/microbial/news/heitman_5.html (2014-06-13)
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  • Duke University Center for Microbial Pathogenesis
    journal Science elevates notable members to the rank of fellow to recognize their efforts in research that are deemed scientifically or socially distinguished St Geme was selected for his distinguished contributions to the field of microbial pathogenesis particularly for elucidating the structure and function of bacterial protein secretion systems and other virulence factors I feel very honored to receive this recognition he said Credit goes to the many talented students

    Original URL path: http://mgm.duke.edu/microbial/news/stgeme_1.html (2014-06-13)
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  • Duke University Center for Microbial Pathogenesis
    program Marcy epitomized what we hope to strive for in science and life someone who gives freely of their time and talents to realize a vision for those in the formative years of their careers The deans of the medical school at Duke along with support from the chancellor Victor Dzau have provided resources to support one current second year student in the training program All eligible candidates will be

    Original URL path: http://mgm.duke.edu/microbial/news/shertz.html (2014-06-13)
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  • Duke University Center for Microbial Pathogenesis
    University and was held in high esteem both by her colleagues and by medical students She contributed much to the NC Branch including service as Branch Secretary Treasurer from 1950 until her death in 1961 Many letters of appreciation have been written over the years by student recipients of the Mary Poston Award emphasizing the importance of the competition for the award as part of their graduate training Jorgensen works

    Original URL path: http://mgm.duke.edu/microbial/news/ine.html (2014-06-13)
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