James B. Bliska, Ph.D.

Title
Professor
Department
Department of Molecular Genetics & Microbiology
Institution
Stony Brook University
Address
130 Life Sciences
City, State, Zip
Stony Brook, NY 11794-5222
Phone
(631) 632-8782
E-mail
jbliska[at]ms.cc.sunysb.edu
Website
http://www.mgm.stonybrook.edu/bliska/index.shtml
Research Field
Microbiology
Award Year
1994

Research

Our laboratory is interested in elucidating the basic mechanisms used by pathogenic bacteria to modulate signaling cascades in host cells. The ultimate aim of the research is to provide a framework for the development of novel antimicrobial agents that can be used to treat or prevent bacterial infections in humans. We study the closely related Gram-negative bacteria Yersinia pseudotuberculosis (YPTB) and Yersinia pestis (YP). These bacteria infect lymphoid organs in humans or rodents, the latter of which serve as reservoirs. YP is transmitted by a flea vector and causes an acute lymphatic infection known as plague. We are investigating the interaction of YPTB and YP with macrophages during the intracellular and extracellular stages of pathogenesis. YP and YPTB encode a specialized protein export pathway known as a type III secretion system (T3SS). Several lines of investigation are underway to better understand the function of the T3SS. First, we are interested in characterizing the essential components of the translocon. Second, we are carrying out structure and function analysis of several Yop effectors to better define their precise biological functions. Third, we are interested in uncovering mechanisms of host resistance to infection that rely on sensing the components of the T3SS.