The major goal of my research is to determine how mRNA degradation contributes to reprogramming the actively translating pool of transcripts during host temperature stress to promote adaptation in the fungal pathogen, Cryptococcus neoformans.
I am also working to identify factors that are involved in the targeting of the major deadenylase, Ccr4, to its mRNA targets during this stress.
Previous work in our laboratory has revealed that specific classes of transcripts undergo tightly controlled and temporally regulated enhanced mRNA degradation in response to host temperature. When mRNA decay is defective, the organism loses ability to thrive at host temperature. My research aims to reveal how this decay promotes a cellular balance of mRNA and allows for translation of newly synthesized, stress-induced transcripts.
C. neoformans causes a significant amount of death in immunocompromised populations, especially in impoverished areas of the world where medical infrastructure and adequate drugs are lacking. Understanding the mechanisms that allow Cryptococcus to adapt to host stress may reveal important factors that can be targeted by drug therapy.
Deep infections caused by fungi are rare. This is largely due to the inability of most fungi to thrive at host temperature. With environmental temperatures gradually increasing over time, it is proposed that increasing thermotolerance will be acquired and new fungal pathogens will emerge. Understanding the mechanisms that allow current fungal pathogens to adapt to host temperature may give insight to future pathogens.
Amanda Bloom, PhD
955 Main Street, Suite 5240
Phone: (716) 829-2091