Skip to Content
Address: 540 EMRB
Phone: (319) 335-7966
Mentor: Alexander Horswill, PhD
Undergraduate Institution: University of Iowa
Year Entered Into Program: 2013
PhD Institution: University of Iowa
Biofilm formation is a key contributing factor to the establishment of chronic infection by the opportunistic pathogen Staphylococcus aureus. While much research in the field has focused on the regulation of biofilm formation, less effort has been spent on identifying the effector molecules that compose and functionally alter the biofilm matrix. Recently, our lab and others found that biofilm disassembly can occur in a protease-dependent manner. The main focus of my research project is to identify the natural mechanism of protease inhibition of biofilm formation. S. aureus secretes ten extracellular proteases that lie in four distinct operons. Using genetic and biochemical approaches we have identified two extracellular proteases that are particularly important in biofilm modulation. Our current studies aim to identify extracellular targets of these proteases that are vital biofilm matrix components. Understanding the biofilm formation and disassembly mechanism may lead to the development of novel therapeutics.
Mootz, J.M., Malone, C.L., Shaw, L.N., and Horswill, A.R. 2013. Staphopains modulate Staphylococcus aureus biofilm integrity. Infect and Immun.81(9): 3227-3238.
Kolar, S.L., Antonio Ibarra, J., Rivera, F.E., Mootz, J.M., Davenport, J.E., Stevens, S.M., Horswill, A.R., and Shaw, L.N. 2012. Extracellular proteases are key mediators of Staphylococcus aureus virulence via the global modulation of virulence-determinant stability. MicrobiologyOpen. doi:10.1002/mbo3.55
Laarman, A.J., Mijnheer, G., Mootz, J.M., van Rooijen, W.J., Ruyken, M., Malone, C.L., Heezius, E.C., Ward, R., Milligan, G., van Strijp, J.A., de Haas, C.J., Horswill, A.R., van Kessel, K.P., and Rooijakkers, S.H. 2012. Staphylococcus aureus Staphopain A inhibits CXCR2-dependent neutrophil activation and chemotaxis. EMBO J. 31(17): 3607-3619.
Kiedrowski, M.R., Kavanaugh, J.S., Malone, C.L., Mootz, J.M., Voyich, J.M., Smeltzer, M.S., Bayles, K.W., and Horswill, A.R. 2011. Nuclease modulates biofilm formation in community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. PLoS ONE. 6(11): e26714.
Johnston, J.W., Zaleski, A., Allen, S., Mootz, J.M., Armbruster, D., Gibson, B.W., Apicella, M.A., and Munson Jr., R.S. 2007. Regulation of sialic acid catabolism in Haemophilus influenzae. Mol Microbiol. 66(1): 26-39.
Copyright © 2011 The University of Iowa. All Rights Reserved.