The Orth lab is interested in elucidation the activity of virulence factors from pathogenic bacteria so that we can gain novel molecular insight into eukaryotic signaling systems.
Many virulence factors are secreted by bacteria using a type III secretion system (T3SS) resembling a needle-like structure that efficiently translocates effector proteins from bacteria into the cytosol of a host cell. Effectors have evolved in a manner similar to many of the viral oncogenes; a eukaryotic activity is usurped and modified by the pathogen for its own advantage.
We are working on T3SS systems and bacterial effectors to understand how signaling systems in the eukaryotic host can be manipulated by bacterial pathogens. These studies provide novel insight into the molecular workings of eukaryotic signal transduction. Our work at UT Southwestern is accomplished using a broad range of tools, including biochemistry, molecular microbiology, protein chemistry, structural biology, yeast genetics, cell biology and more.