The Eshraghi Lab takes a mechanistic approach to understanding fundamental cellular processes through the study of host-bacterial interactions. Our goals are to:
1. Define the roles of bacterial effector proteins in pathogenesis
Bacterial pathogens cause disease through a myriad of mechanisms such as host invasion, immune avoidance, and tissue damage. Many of these bacteria use specialized secretion apparatuses to inject effector proteins into the host’s cells to alter the host’s physiology and promote pathogenesis. We use genetics, cell biology, and biochemistry to study the molecular mechanisms by which these effector proteins are secreted and determine how they affect the host.
2. Determine how bacterial effector proteins drive host specificity
Bacteria belonging to the genus Francisella are exceptionally potent intracellular pathogens. Some strains infect a remarkably broad host range, including mammals, fish, arthropods, and protozoa, while others infect only a limited range of hosts. Currently we are using Francisella as a model to understand how this tropism is governed by a bacterial secretion system and the effector proteins it exports.