Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine.
Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Muthiah Kumaraswami


Muthiah Kumaraswami, Ph.D.

Research Scientist
Department of Pathology and Genomic Medicine
Houston Methodist Hospital
Assistant Member
Houston Methodist Research Institute

6565 Fannin Street, Suite R6-119
Houston, Texas 77030
Phone: 713-441-5252
Email: mkumaraswami@houstonmethodist.org


Dr. Kumaraswami received his Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center in Memphis in 2005. He then completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Dr. Richard Brennan at The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. In 2008, Dr. Kumaraswami received the Amgen Award for Basic Science Research from the M.D. Anderson Alumni and Faculty Association. He joined the Center for Molecular and Translational Human Infectious Diseases Research at Research Institute in 2010.

Dr. Kumaraswami conducts translational research that aims to advance current knowledge of the gene regulatory and drug-binding mechanisms of transcription regulators in bacterial pathogens such as Staphylococcus aureus. His research specifically elucidates the structure-function relationships of DNA-binding proteins.

Representative Recent Publications

  • Schindler BD, Seo SM, Jacinto PL, Kumaraswami M, Birukou I, Brennan RG, Kaatz GW. Functional Consequences of Substitution Mutations in MepR, a Repressor of the Staphylococcus aureus mepA Multidrug Efflux Pump Gene. J Bacteriol. 2013 Jun 7. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Makthal N, Rastegari S, Sanson M, Ma Z, Olsen RJ, Helmann JD, Musser JM, Kumaraswami M. Crystal structure of peroxide stress regulator (PerR) from Streptococcus pyogenes provides functional insights into the mechanism of oxidative stress sensing. J Biol Chem. 2013 May 3. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Olsen RJ, Laucirica DR, Watkins ME, Feske ML, Garcia-Bustillos JR, Vu C, Cantu C, Shelburne SA 3rd, Fittipaldi N, Kumaraswami M, Shea PR, Flores AR, Beres SB, Lovgren M, Tyrrell GJ, Efstratiou A, Low DE, Van Beneden CA, Musser JM. Polymorphisms in regulator of protease B (RopB) alter disease phenotype and strain virulence of serotype M3 group A Streptococcus. J Infect Dis. 2012 Jun;205(11):1719-29.
  • Shelburne Iii SA, Olsen RJ, Makthal N, Brown NG, Sahasrabhojane P, Watkins EM, Palzkill T, Musser JM, Kumaraswami M. An amino-terminal signal peptide of Vfr protein negatively influences RopB-dependent SpeB expression and attenuates virulence in Streptococcus pyogenes. Mol Microbiol. 2011 Dec;82(6):1481-95.
  • Horstmann N, Sahasrabhojane P, Suber B, Kumaraswami M, Olsen RJ, Flores A, Musser JM, Brennan RG, Shelburne SA 3rd. Distinct single amino Acid replacements in the control of virulence regulator protein differentially impact streptococcal pathogenesis. PLoS Pathog. 2011 Oct;7(10):e1002311.
  • Kumaraswami M, Avanigadda L, Rai R, Park HW, Howe MM. Genetic analysis of phage Mu Mor protein amino acids involved in DNA minor groove binding and conformational changes. J Biol Chem. 2011 Oct 14;286(41):35852-62.
  • Shelburne Iii SA, Sahasrobhajane P, Suber B, Keith DB, Davenport MT, Horstmann N, Kumaraswami M, Olsen RJ, Brennan RG, Musser JM.┬áNiche-specific contribution to streptococcal virulence of a MalR-regulated carbohydrate binding protein. Mol Microbiol. 2011 Jul;81(2):500-14.
  • Carroll RK, Shelburne SA 3rd, Olsen RJ, Suber B, Sahasrabhojane P, Kumaraswami M, Beres SB, Shea PR, Flores AR, Musser JM.┬áNaturally occurring single amino acid replacements in a regulatory protein alter streptococcal gene expression and virulence in mice. J Clin Invest. 2011 May 2;121(5):1956-68.
  • Ni L, Xu W, Kumaraswami M, Schumacher MA. Plasmid protein TubR uses a distinct mode of HTH-DNA binding and recruits the prokaryotic tubulin homolog TubZ to effect DNA partition. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Jun 29;107(26):11763-8.
  • Kumaraswami M, Newberry KJ, Brennan RG. Conformational plasticity of the coiled-coil domain of BmrR is required for bmr operator binding: the structure of unliganded BmrR. J Mol Biol. 2010 Apr 30;398(2):264-75.
  • Kumaraswami M, Schuman JT, Seo SM, Kaatz GW, Brennan RG. Structural and biochemical characterization of MepR, a multidrug binding transcription regulator of the Staphylococcus aureus multidrug efflux pump MepA. Nucleic Acids Res. 2009 Mar;37(4):1211-24.
  • Kumaraswami M, Howe MM, Park HW. Crystal structure of the Mor protein of bacteriophage Mu, a member of the Mor/C family of transcription activators. J Biol Chem. 2004 Apr 16;279(16):16581-90.