All Publications

  • Host inflammasome defense mechanisms and bacterial pathogen evasion strategies. Current opinion in immunology Brewer, S. M., Brubaker, S. W., Monack, D. M. 2019; 60: 63–70


    Inflammasomes are a formidable armada of intracellular pattern recognition receptors. They recognize determinants of infection, such as foreign entities or danger signals within the host cell cytosol, rapidly executing innate immune defenses and initiating adaptive immune responses. Although inflammasomes are implicated in many diseases, they are especially critical in host protection against intracellular bacterial pathogens. Given this role, it is not surprising that many pathogens have evolved effective strategies to evade inflammasome activation. In this review, we will provide a brief summary of inflammasome activation during infection with the intent of highlighting recent advances in the field. Additionally, we will review known bacterial evasion strategies and countermeasures that impact pathogenesis.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.coi.2019.05.001

    View details for PubMedID 31174046

  • Genetic dissection of Flaviviridae host factors through genome-scale CRISPR screens NATURE Marceau, C. D., Puschnik, A. S., Majzoub, K., Ooi, Y. S., Brewer, S. M., Fuchs, G., Swaminathan, K., Mata, M. A., Elias, J. E., Sarnow, P., Carette, J. E. 2016; 535 (7610): 159-?


    The Flaviviridae are a family of viruses that cause severe human diseases. For example, dengue virus (DENV) is a rapidly emerging pathogen causing an estimated 100 million symptomatic infections annually worldwide. No approved antivirals are available to date and clinical trials with a tetravalent dengue vaccine showed disappointingly low protection rates. Hepatitis C virus (HCV) also remains a major medical problem, with 160 million chronically infected patients worldwide and only expensive treatments available. Despite distinct differences in their pathogenesis and modes of transmission, the two viruses share common replication strategies. A detailed understanding of the host functions that determine viral infection is lacking. Here we use a pooled CRISPR genetic screening strategy to comprehensively dissect host factors required for these two highly important Flaviviridae members. For DENV, we identified endoplasmic-reticulum (ER)-associated multi-protein complexes involved in signal sequence recognition, N-linked glycosylation and ER-associated degradation. DENV replication was nearly completely abrogated in cells deficient in the oligosaccharyltransferase (OST) complex. Mechanistic studies pinpointed viral RNA replication and not entry or translation as the crucial step requiring the OST complex. Moreover, we show that viral non-structural proteins bind to the OST complex. The identified ER-associated protein complexes were also important for infection by other mosquito-borne flaviviruses including Zika virus, an emerging pathogen causing severe birth defects. By contrast, the most significant genes identified in the HCV screen were distinct and included viral receptors, RNA-binding proteins and enzymes involved in metabolism. We found an unexpected link between intracellular flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD) levels and HCV replication. This study shows notable divergence in host-depenency factors between DENV and HCV, and illuminates new host targets for antiviral therapy.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/nature18631

    View details for Web of Science ID 000379015600044

    View details for PubMedID 27383987

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4964798

  • Overexpression of a BAHD Acyltransferase, OsAt10, Alters Rice Cell Wall Hydroxycinnamic Acid Content and Saccharification PLANT PHYSIOLOGY Bartley, L. E., Peck, M. L., Kim, S., Ebert, B., Manisseri, C., Chiniquy, D. M., Sykes, R., Gao, L., Rautengarten, C., Vega-Sanchez, M. E., Benke, P. I., Canlas, P. E., Cao, P., Brewer, S., Lin, F., Smith, W. L., Zhang, X., Keasling, J. D., Jentoff, R. E., Foster, S. B., Zhou, J., Ziebell, A., An, G., Scheller, H. V., Ronald, P. C. 2013; 161 (4): 1615-1633


    Grass cell wall properties influence food, feed, and biofuel feedstock usage efficiency. The glucuronoarabinoxylan of grass cell walls is esterified with the phenylpropanoid-derived hydroxycinnamic acids ferulic acid (FA) and para-coumaric acid (p-CA). Feruloyl esters undergo oxidative coupling with neighboring phenylpropanoids on glucuronoarabinoxylan and lignin. Examination of rice (Oryza sativa) mutants in a grass-expanded and -diverged clade of BAHD acyl-coenzyme A-utilizing transferases identified four mutants with altered cell wall FA or p-CA contents. Here, we report on the effects of overexpressing one of these genes, OsAt10 (LOC_Os06g39390), in rice. An activation-tagged line, OsAT10-D1, shows a 60% reduction in matrix polysaccharide-bound FA and an approximately 300% increase in p-CA in young leaf tissue but no discernible phenotypic alterations in vegetative development, lignin content, or lignin composition. Two additional independent OsAt10 overexpression lines show similar changes in FA and p-CA content. Cell wall fractionation and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry experiments isolate the cell wall alterations in the mutant to ester conjugates of a five-carbon sugar with p-CA and FA. These results suggest that OsAT10 is a p-coumaroyl coenzyme A transferase involved in glucuronoarabinoxylan modification. Biomass from OsAT10-D1 exhibits a 20% to 40% increase in saccharification yield depending on the assay. Thus, OsAt10 is an attractive target for improving grass cell wall quality for fuel and animal feed.

    View details for DOI 10.1104/pp.112.208694

    View details for Web of Science ID 000316987900004

    View details for PubMedID 23391577

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3613443