Graduate Student, Department of Microbiology
B.Sc. in Biology. Trinity College, Hartford, CT.
2008-2009 Cell and Molecular Biology Training Grant Trainee (PHS NRSA T32 GM07270 from NIGMS), University of Washington
2005-2008 W. H. Russell Fellowship, Trinity College
2005 The J. Wendell Burger Prize in Biology, Trinity College
2004 Phi Beta Kappa, Trinity College
My project focuses on SseJ, a secreted toxin of the Salmonella pathogenicity island (SPI-2) type III secretion system of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium. The enzymatic activity of SseJ is required for full virulence in mice. SseJ belongs to a family of GDSL lipases and, demonstrates basal deacylase, phospholipase A1, and glycerophospholipid cholesterol acyl transferase (GCAT) activity that is stimulated by binding to the mammalian small GTPase, RhoA. Binding and activation of SseJ is greatest with the active, GTP-bound, RhoA, compared to GDP-bound or unbound RhoA. In collaboration with Peter Brzovic from the Klevit lab we are utilizing nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy to determine the interaction surface of RhoA with SseJ.
M Christen*, LH Coye*, JS Hontz, DL LaRock, RA Pfuetzner, Megha, SI Miller. Activation of a Bacterial Virulence Protein by the GTPase RhoA. Science Signaling 2, Nov 3; 2(95): ra71 (2009). *Co-first author