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K-State Today

April 11, 2023

George Aranjuez to present Division of Biology Seminar

Submitted by Division of Biology

George Aranjuez, University of Central Florida, will present his research, "New insights into bacterial effector function using Drosophila as an in vivo discovery platform," at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, April 13, in 232 Ackert Hall.

As an obligate intracellular bacterial pathogen, Chlamydia injects multiple protein effectors via the type III secretion system into the host cell to induce its entry and establish a replicative niche. One such effector, Tarp, is required for efficient Chlamydia host cell invasion, as determined in cell culture infection models. However, the influence of specific Tarp protein domains on host cell biology is difficult to resolve amidst the host cell response to actual infection. To address this, Aranjuez utilized Drosophila as an in vivo cell biology platform to study effector-host interactions. Drosophila development is well-characterized down to the molecular level such that developmental phenotypes can be traced back to the perturbed molecular pathway. Transgenic expression of Tarp in specific tissues gave rise to tell-tale phenotypes that indicate the involvement of a new cellular process and/or signaling pathway, while the genetic tools and reagents available in Drosophila facilitated further mechanistic studies. Using this approach, Aranjuez: 1) validated Tarp's ability to bundle F-actin in vivo; and 2) discovered a novel link between Tarp and the host Hippo signaling pathway. Pathogen effector studies in Drosophila circumvent the technical difficulties encountered in conventional infection models and are positioned to make new discoveries in host-pathogen interactions.

If you wish to speak with Aranjuez during his visit, please contact Sherry Fleming at sdflemin@k-state.edu