Rebecca Lamason

Intracellular bacterial pathogens reprogram host cells to promote their survival, leading to devastating mortality and morbidity worldwide. Our research focuses on revealing how bacterial pathogens usurp host cell function to gain insights into both host cell biology and pathogenesis. In particular, we focus on how intracellular bacterial pathogens (e.g. Listeria monocytogenes and Rickettsia parkeri) hijack host machinery to move throughout tissues via cell-to-cell spread. This critical yet understudied virulence mechanism allows bacteria continued access to cytosolic nutrients and avoidance of humoral immune responses. However, moving through tissues without destroying cell integrity presents challenges, and we are investigating how bacteria spread by targeting host pathways of intercellular communication, such as trans-endocytosis, cell adhesion, and mechanotransduction.

Lamason RL, Welch MD (2017) Actin-based motility and cell-to-cell spread of bacterial pathogens. Current Opinion in Microbiology 35:48-57. PMID: 27997855

Lamason RL, Bastounis E, Kafai NM, Serrano R, del Álamo JC, Theriot J, Welch MD (2016) Rickettsia Sca4 reduces vinculin-mediated intercellular tension to promote spread. Cell, 167(3):670-683. PMID: 27768890

Reed SC, Lamason RL, Risca VI, Abernathy E, Welch MD (2014) Rickettsia Actin-Based Motility Occurs in Distinct Phases Mediated by Different Actin Nucleators. Current Biology 24(1):98-103. PMID: 24361066

Welch MD, Reed SC, Lamason RL, Serio AW (2012) Expression of an epitope-tagged virulence protein in Rickettsia parkeri using transposon insertion. PLoS One 7(5):e37310. PMID: 22624012