Chunxiao Yu Ph.D.
Address: Boston University Department of Medicine, Section of Infectious Diseases. 650 Albany st X-620. Boston, MA 02118
Postdoctoral Fellow, Boston University School of Medicine, Department of Medicine; Boston, MA
Ph.D. Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, University of Vermont; Burlington, VT
Neisseria gonorrhoeae regulates diverse genes to acquire iron in the human host, where iron source is limited, to survive and fulfill virulence. One of the regulation mechanisms in response to iron is mediated by a famous transcription factor, the Ferric Uptake Regulator (Fur). Fur is a small protein (17 kDa), which forms a homo-dimer when conjugating with Fe(II). The well known regulation function of Fur is to repress gene transcription via binding to the -10 region in the promoter regions of genes. Interestingly, new findings have shown that Fur also acts as a transcriptional activator by directly binding to the promoter. The genes that are directly activated by Fur in N. gonorrhoeae include those encoding an outermembrane protein (NspA), which is a vaccine candidate; a protease, which is a putative virulence factor; and an RNase, which may regulate gene expression post-transcriptionally. However, the mechanism of Fur directly activating the gene transcription is still unknown. My project is to investigate this mechanism and the roles of Fur-direct-activated genes in the pathogenesis of N. gonorrhoeae.