The Zika ThreatASM Acts to Counter Zika Virus Outbreak.
Dr. Baseman's laboratory studies the biology of pathogenic mycoplasmas and relate these findings to disease pathogenesis in humans and animal models. Their recent discovery of the Community Acquired Respiratory Distress Syndrome Toxin (CARDS Tx) of Mycoplasma pneumoniae (MPN) represents the first authentic toxin/virulence determinant found in MPN, as the toxin behaves as a bona fide ADP-ribosylating toxin (like the classical ADP-ribosylating toxins of pertussis and diphtheria) and vacuolating toxin (like VacA). CARDS Tx is a remarkable, one-of-a-kind protein; no other toxin or virulence factor exhibits both ADP ribosylation and vacuolating activities and elicits such a distinctive host response, causing unusual pathologies, including unique inflammatory pathways and tissue injury. Based upon the lab's clinical and animal model studies and in vitro observations, they have compelling evidence that CARDS Tx represents a single molecule tightly linked to mediating acute and chronic airway diseases. The lab also examine the sexually transmitted mycoplasma, Mycoplasma genitalium (MGN). They are clarifying MGN virulence determinants that mediate the dynamic interactions between MGN and human target cells, leading to overt clinical disease. Recently, they described the remarkable ability of MGN to exhibit perinuclear and intranucleolar localization, suggesting that this pathogen circumvents host defenses and navigates through host cell structures in order to establish and maintain viability and persistence. Specific gene products of MGN that contribute to this unique trafficking are being identified in order to understand how this mycoplasma elicits pathogenetic consequences and determine what MGN molecules can be used as therapeutic targets to interrupt or prevent disease progression.