Research in Dr. Nataro's lab is focused on the pathogenesis of E. coli and Shigella enteric infections. A major effort has been directed at understanding the pathogenesis, genomics, molecular epidemiology and diagnosis of enteroaggregative E. coli. Work has involved all other pathotypes of diarrheagenic E. coli as well. In the course of this work, the Nataro lab as discovered several new protein toxins and adherence factors in E. coli and Shigella.
Another major thrust of research in the lab involves fundamental understanding of the autotransporter proteins, a class of proteins that secrete themselves the outer membrane of Gram-negative pathogens. These studies involve the biochemical and biophysical requirements of secretion as well as the roles of autotransporter toxins in enteric pathogenesis.
Dr. Nataro has used the technique of nuclear magnetic resonance to integrate structural biology into research on pathogenesis and vaccine development. Structures determined include the novel dispersin protein of enteroaggregative E. coli, an important virulence factor in this emerging pathogen. In addition, Dr. Nataro seeks to understand the effect of the immune response on the evolution of protein structure, a question of vital importance to future vaccine studies.
Dr. Nataro's lab is also involved in the development of vaccines against potential bioterror agents, especially plague.
Jenkins C, van Ijperen C, Dudley EG, Chart H, Willshaw GA, Cheasty T, Smith HR, Nataro JP. Use of a microarray to assess the distribution of plasmid and chromosomal virulence genes in strains of enteroaggregative Escherichia coli. FEMS Microbiology Letters. Oct. 10, 2005.
Harrington SM, Strauman MC, Abe CM, Nataro JP. Aggregative Adherence Fimbriae Contribute to the Inflammatory Response of Epithelial Cells Infected with Enteroaggregative Escherichia coli. Cellular Microbiology. 7(11):1565-1578; 2005.
Cohen MB, Nataro JP, Bernstein DI, Hawkins BA, Roberts N, Staat MA. Prevalence of Diarrheagenic Escherichia coli in Acute Childhood Enteritis: A Prospective Controlled Study. The Journal of Pediatrics. 146:54-61; 2005.
Behrens, M., J. Sheikh, J.P. Nataro. Regulation of the Overlapping pic/set Locus in Shigella flexneri and Enteroaggrtegative Escherichia coli. Infect. Immuno. 2002 70:2915-25.
Sheikh, J., S. Hicks, M. Dall, Agnol, A.D. Phillips, J.P. Nataro. Roles for Fis and YafK in biofilm formation by enteroaggregative Escherichia coli. 2001, 41:983-97.
Henderson, I.R., J. Czeczulin, C. Eslava, F. Noriega, J.P. Nataro. Characterization of pic, a secreted protease of Shigella flexneri and enteroaggregative Escherichia coli. Infect Immun 1999 Nov; 67(11):5587-96.
Henderson, I.R., S. Hicks, F. Navarro-Garcia, W.P. Elias, A.D. Philips, J.P. Nataro. Involvement of the enteroaggregative Escherichia coli plasmid-encoded toxin in causing human intestinal damage. Infect Immun 1999 Oct; 67(10):5338-44.
Elias, Jr., W.P., J.R. Czeczulin, I.R. Henderson, L.R. Trabulsi, J.P. Nataro. Organization of biogenesis genes for aggregative adherence fimbria II defines a virulence gene cluster in enteroaggregative Escherichia coli. J. Bacteriol 1999 Mar; 181(6):1779-85.
Henderson, I.R., P. Owen, J.P. Nataro. Molecular switches--the ON and OFF of bacterial phase variation. Mol Microbiol. 1999 Sep; 33(5):919-32.
Eslava, C., F. Navarro-Garcia, J.R. Czeczulin, I.R. Henderson, A. Cravioto, J.P. Nataro. Pet, an autotransporter enterotoxin from enteroaggregative Escherichia coli. Infect Immun. 1998 Jul; 66(7):3155-63.