Maria Krasilnikov

Investigating the Role of Lipoproteins in Listeria monocytogenes Pathogenesis

Listeria monocytogenes is a facultative intracellular bacterial pathogen that is being developed as a vaccine vector. The potential for L. monocytogenes as a vaccine vector stems from its ability to invade host cells and its genetic tractability, which allows us to make mutants that express antigens and are avirulent. However, it has been shown that in some instances infection with L. monocytogenes mutants causes the host to produce IL-10, which is an immunosuppressive cytokine. Thus, we believe that L. monocytogenes has the potential to be an even better vaccine vector if we could get rid of its capabilities to induce IL-10 production. We have discovered that IL-10 production is lowered when the gene coding for the lipoprotein anchor, lgt, is removed. However, it is still unclear whether specific lipoproteins, or all lipoproteins, are involved in the IL-10 induction cycle. My project involves making individual lipoprotein L. monocytogenes mutants and testing their ability to induce IL-10. This project will help us gain an understanding of how L. monocytogenes induces IL-10 in the host and how we can prevent this cycle to create a safer vaccine vector.

Message to Sponsor

Thank you so much to the Thye Fund for allowing me this amazing research opportunity. This summer has allowed me to do full-time research independently for the first time, and I have grown so much as a scientist in just these few weeks. The funding and experience has really solidified my desire to go into graduate school and pursue full time research for my career, a passion that would not have been solidified without your donation.
  • Major: Molecular and Cell Biology: Immunology and Pathogenesis
  • Sponsor: Thye L&S
  • Mentor: Daniel Portnoy