Microbe-host interactions influence all aspects of human life both directly and indirectly. These interactions may be considered beneficial, harmful, or benign, and in certain cases shift during the course of the interaction. The Kale Group's principal aim is to understand the specific evolutionary rules and constraints that establish, perpetuate, and modulate these microbial interactions at all levels of abstraction.
The laboratory is primarily interested in clinically relevant fungi, particularly Aspergillus fumigatus, a saprophytic fungus ubiquitous in nature and built environments. A. fumigatus causes a variety of disease phenotypes in humans and provides a model system to study both the role of nature and nurture in disease manifestation and progression. We investigate both host and fungal processes that determine specific disease outcome. Understanding the function and importance of a host or fungal gene in context provides an avenue to develop personalized medicine for a given disease manifestation.
Effector proteins are viewed in part as small secreted proteins that are capable of facilitating symbiosis. We focus on the structure and function of a class of conserved effector proteins known commonly as RxLR-effectors. These effectors contain a conserved N-terminal motif of arginine--a subset of amino acids, leucine, and arginine. Variants of this motif can be found in effector proteins from a variety of eukaryotic symbionts. Our group is particularly interested in the trafficking of these effectors from the pathogen to the host animal or plant cell via binding cell surface PtdIns-3-P, a phospholipid important in cellular trafficking and signaling.
Cellular signaling mediates all aspects of biology and is the central means by which systems at all levels of abstraction communicate and function. We are interested in how host signal transduction pathways are hijacked by microbes to facilitate symbiosis and how different signaling pathways cross- communicate to modulate a given process in a context- specific manner. These studies are carried out in collaboration with T.M. Murali and ISBET. Our goal is to utilize computational science to identify and predict novel signaling components as well as sites for signal transduction cross-talk.
|Zachary Barron||BREU Student|
|Hannah Beard||BREU Student|
|Bridget Kastelberg||BREU Student|