Post-transcriptional regulation Schematic

Research in the Gebhardt laboratory is focused on uncovering regulatory roles played by small, non-coding RNAs (sRNAs) and their corresponding RNA binding proteins (RBPs) in the gram-negative opportunistic pathogens Acinetobacter baumannii and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. These organisms are of critical concern due to the ever-increasing emergence and prevalence of antibiotic resistance amongst clinical isolates. As bacterial sRNAs are known to play a crucial role the response to changing environmental conditions, we hypothesize that certain sRNAs play key regulatory roles in both A. baumannii and P. aeruginosa and govern the expression of genes involved in the pathogenesis of these organisms. We are particularly interested in studying those sRNAs (and any relevant RBPs) that allow P. aeruginosa and A. baumannii to adapt to specific, virulence-related environmental conditions, including growth within a host-like environment or exposure to clinically relevant antibiotics. By studying these sRNAs and their regulatory pathways, we hope to not only enhance our understanding of how these pathogens regulate virulence traits and antibiotic resistance but also to uncover novel targets for therapeutic intervention of the infections caused by these agents.