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1.  Murine Cytomegalovirus Deubiquitinase Regulates Viral Chemokine Levels To Control Inflammation and Pathogenesis 
mBio  2017;8(1):e01864-16.
Maintaining control over inflammatory processes represents a paradox for viral pathogens. Although many viruses induce host inflammatory responses to facilitate infection, control is necessary to avoid overactivation. One way is through the manipulation of proinflammatory chemokine levels, both host and viral. Murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV), a model betaherpesvirus, encodes a viral C-C chemokine, MCK2, which promotes host inflammatory responses and incorporates into virions to facilitate viral dissemination. Here, we show that the activity of M48, the conserved MCMV deubiquitinating enzyme (DUB), regulates MCK2 levels during infection. Inactivation of M48 DUB activity results in viral attenuation and exacerbates virally induced, MCK2-dependent inflammatory responses. M48 DUB activity also influences MCK2 incorporation into virions. Importantly, attenuation of DUB-mutant virus acute replication in vitro and in vivo is largely ameliorated by targeted deletion of MCK2. Thus, uncontrolled MCK2 levels appear to mediate DUB-mutant virus attenuation in specific tissues or cell types. This demonstrates that MCMV M48 DUB activity plays a previously unappreciated role in controlling MCK2 levels, thereby managing MCK2-dependent processes. These findings reveal a novel intrinsic control mechanism of virally induced inflammation and support the identification of betaherpesvirus DUBs as possible new targets for antiviral therapies.
Human cytomegalovirus infections represent a tremendous burden not only to those afflicted but also to health care systems worldwide. As cytomegalovirus infections are a leading cause of nongenetic sensory loss and neurodevelopmental delay, it is imperative that valuable model systems exist in order that we might understand what viral factors contribute to replication and pathogenesis. Currently, the only approved drug treatments against CMV infection are nucleoside analogues, to which some strains have become resistant. Understanding unique viral enzymatic contributions to infections will allow the development of novel pharmacological therapies. Here, we show that M48, the conserved MCMV deubiquitinase, is critical for MCMV replication in mice and demonstrate that attenuation is due to deregulated production of a viral proinflammatory chemokine. The deubiquitinases of both human and murine CMV represent structurally unique DUBs and are therefore attractive targets for pharmacological intervention. Continued research into the substrates of these DUBs will lend additional insight into their potential as targets.
PMCID: PMC5241396  PMID: 28096485
2.  Intrinsic Antimicrobial Resistance Determinants in the Superbug Pseudomonas aeruginosa 
mBio  2015;6(6):e01603-15.
Antimicrobial-resistant bacteria pose a serious threat in the clinic. This is particularly true for opportunistic pathogens that possess high intrinsic resistance. Though many studies have focused on understanding the acquisition of bacterial resistance upon exposure to antimicrobials, the mechanisms controlling intrinsic resistance are not well understood. In this study, we subjected the model opportunistic superbug Pseudomonas aeruginosa to 14 antimicrobials under highly controlled conditions and assessed its response using expression- and fitness-based genomic approaches. Our results reveal that gene expression changes and mutant fitness in response to sub-MIC antimicrobials do not correlate on a genomewide scale, indicating that gene expression is not a good predictor of fitness determinants. In general, fewer fitness determinants were identified for antiseptics and disinfectants than for antibiotics. Analysis of gene expression and fitness data together allowed the prediction of antagonistic interactions between antimicrobials and insight into the molecular mechanisms controlling these interactions.
Infections involving multidrug-resistant pathogens are difficult to treat because the therapeutic options are limited. These infections impose a significant financial burden on infected patients and on health care systems. Despite years of antimicrobial resistance research, we lack a comprehensive understanding of the intrinsic mechanisms controlling antimicrobial resistance. This work uses two fine-scale genomic approaches to identify genetic loci important for antimicrobial resistance of the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Our results reveal that antibiotics have more resistance determinants than antiseptics/disinfectants and that gene expression upon exposure to antimicrobials is not a good predictor of these resistance determinants. In addition, we show that when used together, genomewide gene expression and fitness profiling can provide mechanistic insights into multidrug resistance mechanisms.
PMCID: PMC4626858  PMID: 26507235
3.  Parallel Evolution in Pseudomonas aeruginosa over 39,000 Generations In Vivo 
mBio  2010;1(4):e00199-10.
The Gram-negative bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a common cause of chronic airway infections in individuals with the heritable disease cystic fibrosis (CF). After prolonged colonization of the CF lung, P. aeruginosa becomes highly resistant to host clearance and antibiotic treatment; therefore, understanding how this bacterium evolves during chronic infection is important for identifying beneficial adaptations that could be targeted therapeutically. To identify potential adaptive traits of P. aeruginosa during chronic infection, we carried out global transcriptomic profiling of chronological clonal isolates obtained from 3 individuals with CF. Isolates were collected sequentially over periods ranging from 3 months to 8 years, representing up to 39,000 in vivo generations. We identified 24 genes that were commonly regulated by all 3 P. aeruginosa lineages, including several genes encoding traits previously shown to be important for in vivo growth. Our results reveal that parallel evolution occurs in the CF lung and that at least a proportion of the traits identified are beneficial for P. aeruginosa chronic colonization of the CF lung.
Deadly diseases like AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis are the result of long-term chronic infections. Pathogens that cause chronic infections adapt to the host environment, avoiding the immune response and resisting antimicrobial agents. Studies of pathogen adaptation are therefore important for understanding how the efficacy of current therapeutics may change upon prolonged infection. One notorious chronic pathogen is Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a bacterium that causes long-term infections in individuals with the heritable disease cystic fibrosis (CF). We used gene expression profiles to identify 24 genes that commonly changed expression over time in 3 P. aeruginosa lineages, indicating that these changes occur in parallel in the lungs of individuals with CF. Several of these genes have previously been shown to encode traits critical for in vivo-relevant processes, suggesting that they are likely beneficial adaptations important for chronic colonization of the CF lung.
PMCID: PMC2939680  PMID: 20856824

Results 1-3 (3)