Craig D Ellermeier Ph.D.

Craig D Ellermeier Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Microbiology
319-384-4565
540M
Eckstein Medical Research Building
Lab phone: 
319-335-7622
540 M
EMRB
Research Focus: 

Cells often respond to changes in their environment by altering gene expression. My research focuses on understanding the basic molecular mechanisms involved in how cells sense and respond to extracellular signals. We are specifically interested in mechanisms of signal transduction in response to cell envelope stresses in Gram positive bacteria. Our studies focus on the transcriptional responses of bacterial cells to a novel antimicrobial peptide SdpC.  We have identified two novel signal transduction systems from B. subtilis which sense and respond to this antimicrobial peptide. The first of these is a signal transduction system which utilizes a membrane protein, SdpI, to sequester a repressor and inhibit its activity. This increases expression of SdpI which also provides resistance to the antimicrobial peptide. The second pathway we have identified activates an alternative sigma factor, σW. The σW factor is activated by proteolytic destruction of the membrane-bound anti-σW by successive proteolytic events known as Site-1 and Site-2 cleavage. We identified a multi-pass membrane protein called PrsW that is required for Site-1 cleavage of anti-σW. Interestingly these systems are conserved in the emerging opportunistic pathogen Clostridium difficile. We are investigating the role of these signal transduction systems in C. difficile virulence.

Research Mode: 
Experimental
Research Paradigm(s): 
Gene-environment Interactions and Interplay
Protein Folding and Structure
Protein-protein Interactions
Transcription and Transcriptional Regulation
Translation and Post-translational Modifications
Applications: 
Microbiome and Infectious Diseases
Organisms: 
Microbial and Viral
College: 
Carver College of Medicine

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