The genomes of thirteen rickettsial species have been sequenced providing many insights into their biology; however, the molecular basis of protein secretion involved in rickettsial pathogenesis remains an important area of research for rickettsiae. The annotation of published rickettsial genome sequences and our laboratory work indicate that Rickettsia possess a Sec protein secretion pathway as well as Type IV secretion system.
The aim of my research is focused on secreted proteins of rickettsiae. The rationale for targeting secreted proteins is based on the hypothesis that secreted proteins are involved in many essential cellular processes including adherence and growth; as well as involved in the immune response. My current effort is molecular and functional characterization of extracytoplasmic secreted proteins with particular emphasis on their role for rickettsial infection, intracellular growth and damage to host cells.