Tania Sodhi L&S Sciences
Expression of RickA and Sca2 in Rickettsia parkeri
The spotted fever group Rickettsiae (SFGR) are a collective group of Gram-negative obligate pathogens from Rickettesia spp. Most bacteria in the SFGR use two effectors to mediate actin-based motility (ABM). This is in contrast to other intracellular pathogens, which utilize only a single effector for ABM. The goal of my research project is to understand how Rickettsia parkeri, a member of the SFGR family, regulates the expression of two effectors that mediate ABM: RickA and Sca2. While both effectors are involved in mediating ABM, the regulation for both effectors and the dynamics of their expression have not been fully characterized. In this project, I will explore the role of transcription of the rickA and sca2 genes with respect to ABM on a single-cell level using live-cell microscopy. To look at the role of translation and secretion in regulating gene expression and activity, I will explore the localization of RickA and Sca2 throughout the course of infection using fixed-cell imaging. My project will provide a better understanding of genetic and protein regulation of cytosolic bacterial pathogens.