Bettina Buttaro, PhD
Associate Professor, Microbiology and Immunology
- Contact Information
- About Me
The research in Dr. Buttaro's laboratory focuses on the biology of pheromone inducible conjugative plasmids. These plasmids play a major role in mediating horizontal gene transfer events that convert gastrointestinal microbiota commensals E. faecalis to multidrug resistant pathogens (MDR) such as vancomycin resistant enterococci; (VRE). We study two major aspects of plasmid biology.
1. Redox regulation of pheromone inducible conjugative plasmid pCF10 copy number. This is the first observation of environmental regulation of plasmid copy number.
- What are the molecular mechanisms by which conserved cysteines and a peptide (pre-cCF10) influence the activity of the replication initiation protein PrgW to regulate plasmid copy number in response to oxidative stress?
- Does the increase in copy number protect the bacteria during oxidative stress?
- Do pathogenic strains gain a competitive advantage so they can displace commensal Enterococci in the gastrointestinal tract under inflammatory conditions (e.g. infection or inflammatory bowel diseases; in collaboration with Ç. Tükel and G. Ehrlich, Drexel University?
2. Transfer antibiotic genes from Enterococcus faecalis to plasmid-free commensal enterococci and other genera such as Staphylococcus aureus in mixed species biofilms.
- Use of mathematical modeling to examine the dissemination of conjugative plasmids through mixed species biofilms and the affect of redox stresses on these processes (in collaboration with I. Klapper, Mathematics, Temple University).
In addition, our laboratory provides biofilm expertise to clinicians and basic scientists from other disciplines.
Ongoing collaborations include:
- The role of amyloids and eDNA in Enterobactericeae biofilms with Dr. Çagla Tükel.
- Characterizing pheromone-responsive plasmids from dental infection isolates with Dr. Roy Stevens (School of Dentistry)
- Technical assistance with the design MIC assays, biofilm eradication assays and the use confocal microscopy to study the effects of novel synthetic antimicrobial compounds in the inhibition of biofilm formation or eradication and killing of pre-formed biofilms with Drs. William Wuest (Department of Chemistry) and Kevin Minbiole (Villanova)
- Development of an in cellulo Click assays for production of novel macrolides with Dr. Rodrigo Andrade (Department of Chemistry).
- Education, Training & Credentials
- Fellowship, Alexander von Humboldt, Universtät Ulm, Germany
- PhD, University of Minnesota