Not found

Muthiah Kumaraswami, PhD

Assistant Professor of Pathology and Genomic Medicine, Institute for Academic Medicine
Assistant Member, Research Institute
Houston Methodist


Dr. Kumaraswami received his Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology from the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center in Memphis. He then completed a postdoctoral fellowship 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 The Methodist Hospital Research Institute in 2010.

Description of Research

Dr. Kumaraswami conducts translational research on the gene regulatory and drug-binding mechanisms of transcription regulators in bacterial pathogens such as Staphylococcus aureus. His research focuses on three major proteins (RopB, RofA, and RocA) that are involved in the coordinated regulation of virulence gene expression and group A streptococci pathogenesis.

Areas Of Expertise

GAS pathogenesis Staphylococcus Aureus
Education & Training

BVSc , Tamilnadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Chennai
PhD , The University of Tennessee Health Science Center
Postdoctoral Fellowship , University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

Iron efflux by PmtA is critical for oxidative stress resistance and contributes significantly to group A Streptococcus virulence
VanderWal, AR, Makthal, N, Pinochet-Barros, A, Helmann, JD, Olsen, RJ & Kumaraswami, M 2017, Infection and Immunity, vol 85, no. 6, e00091-17. DOI:

A Critical Role of Zinc Importer AdcABC in Group A Streptococcus-Host Interactions During Infection and Its Implications for Vaccine Development
Makthal, N, Nguyen, K, Do, H, Gavagan, M, Chandrangsu, P, Helmann, JD, Olsen, RJ & Kumaraswami, M 2017, EBioMedicine. DOI:

Multimerization of the Virulence-Enhancing Group A Streptococcus Transcription Factor RivR Is Required for Regulatory Activity
Ramalinga, A, Danger, JL, Makthal, N, Kumaraswami, M & Sumby, P 2017, Journal of Bacteriology, vol 199, no. 1. DOI:

Structural Mechanisms of Peptide Recognition and Allosteric Modulation of Gene Regulation by the RRNPP Family of Quorum-Sensing Regulators
Do, H & Kumaraswami, M 2016, Journal of Molecular Biology, vol 428, no. 14, pp. 2793-2804. DOI:

Structural and functional analysis of RopB: A major virulence regulator in Streptococcus pyogenes
Makthal, N, Gavagan, M, Do, H, Olsen, RJ, Musser, JM & Kumaraswami, M 2016, Molecular Microbiology, vol 99, no. 6, pp. 1119-1133. DOI:

Adhesin competence repressor (AdcR) from Streptococcus pyogenes controls adaptive responses to zinc limitation and contributes to virulence
Sanson, M, Makthal, N, Flores, AR, Olsen, RJ, Musser, JM & Kumaraswami, M 2015, Nucleic Acids Research, vol 43, no. 1, pp. 418-432. DOI:

The FasX small regulatory RNA negatively regulates the expression of two fibronectin-binding proteins in group a streptococcus
Danger, JL, Makthal, N, Kumaraswami, M & Sumby, P 2015, Journal of Bacteriology, vol 197, no. 23, pp. 3720-3730. DOI:

Phosphorylation events in the multiple gene regulator of group A Streptococcus significantly influence global gene expression and virulence
Sanson, M, Makthal, N, Gavagan, M, Cantu, C, Olsen, RJ, Musser, JM & Kumaraswami, M 2015, Infection and Immunity, vol 83, no. 6, pp. 2382-2395. DOI:

A naturally occurring single amino acid replacement in multiple gene regulator of group a streptococcus significantly increases virulence
Sanson, M, ONeill, BE, Kachroo, P, Anderson, JR, Flores, AR, Valson, C, Cantu, CC, Makthal, N, Karmonik, C, Fittipaldi, N, Kumaraswami, M, Musser, JM & Olsen, RJ 2014, American Journal of Pathology, vol 185, no. 2, pp. 462-471. DOI:

Targeting RPL39 and MLF2 reduces tumor initiation and metastasis in breast cancer by inhibiting nitric oxide synthase signaling
Dave, B, Granados-Principal, S, Zhu, R, Benz, S, Rabizadeh, S, Soon-Shiong, P, Yu, KD, Shao, Z, Li, X, Gilcrease, M, Lai, Z, Chen, Y, Huang, THM, Shen, H, Liu, X, Ferrari, M, Zhan, M, Wong, STC, Kumaraswami, M, Mittal, V, Chen, X, Gross, SS & Chang, JC 2014, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol 111, no. 24, pp. 8838-8843. DOI:

Natural variation in the promoter of the gene encoding the mga regulator alters host-pathogen interactions in group a streptococcus carrier strains
Flores, AR, Olsen, RJ, Wunsche, A, Kumaraswami, M, Shelburne, SA, Carroll, RK & Musser, JM 2013, Infection and Immunity, vol 81, no. 11, pp. 4128-4138. DOI:

Functional consequences of substitution mutations in mepr, a repressor of the staphylococcus aureus mepa multidrug efflux pump gene
Schindler, BD, Seo, SM, Jacinto, PL, Kumaraswami, M, Birukou, I, Brennan, RG & Kaatz, GW 2013, Journal of Bacteriology, vol 195, no. 16, pp. 3651-3662. DOI:

Crystal structure of peroxide stress regulator from streptococcus pyogenes provides functional insights into the mechanism of oxidative stress sensing
Makthal, N, Rastegari, S, Sanson, M, Ma, Z, Olsen, RJ, Helmann, JD, Musser, JM & Kumaraswami, M 2013, Journal of Biological Chemistry, vol 288, no. 25, pp. 18311-18324. DOI:

Polymorphisms in regulator of protease B (RopB) alter disease phenotype and strain virulence of serotype M3 group a streptococcus
Olsen, RJ, Laucirica, DR, Watkins, ME, Feske, ML, Garcia-Bustillos, JR, Vu, C, Cantu, C, Shelburne, SA, Fittipaldi, N, Kumaraswami, M, Shea, PR, Flores, AR, Beres, SB, Lovgren, M, Tyrrell, GJ, Efstratiou, A, Low, DE, Van Beneden, CA & Musser, JM 2012, Journal of Infectious Diseases, vol 205, no. 11, pp. 1719-1729. DOI:

An amino-terminal signal peptide of Vfr protein negatively influences RopB-dependent SpeB expression and attenuates virulence in Streptococcus pyogenes
Shelburne, SA , Olsen, RJ, Makthal, N, Brown, NG, Sahasrabhojane, P, Watkins, EM, Palzkill, T, Musser, JM & Kumaraswami, M 2011, Molecular Microbiology, vol 82, no. 6, pp. 1481-1495. DOI:

Genetic analysis of phage Mu Mor protein amino acids involved in DNA minor groove binding and conformational changes
Kumaraswami, M, Avanigadda, L, Rai, R, Park, HW & Howe, MM 2011, Journal of Biological Chemistry, vol 286, no. 41, pp. 35852-35862. DOI:

Distinct single amino acid replacements in the control of virulence regulator protein differentially impact streptococcal pathogenesis
Horstmann, N, Sahasrabhojane, P, Suber, B, Kumaraswami, M, Olsen, RJ, Flores, A, Musser, JM, Brennan, RG & Shelburne, SA 2011, PLoS Pathogens, vol 7, no. 10, e1002311. DOI:

Niche-specific contribution to streptococcal virulence of a MalR-regulated carbohydrate binding protein
Shelburne, SA, Sahasrobhajane, P, Suber, B, Keith, DB, Davenport, MT, Horstmann, N, Kumaraswami, M, Olsen, RJ, Brennan, RG & Musser, JM 2011, Molecular Microbiology, vol 81, no. 2, pp. 500-514. DOI:

Naturally occurring single amino acid replacements in a regulatory protein alter streptococcal gene expression and virulence in mice
Carroll, RK, Shelburne, SA, Olsen, RJ, Suber, B, Sahasrabhojane, P, Kumaraswami, M, Beres, SB, Shea, PR, Flores, AR & Musser, JM 2011, Journal of Clinical Investigation, vol 121, no. 5, pp. 1956-1968. DOI:

Plasmid protein TubR uses a distinct mode of HTH-DNA binding and recruits the prokaryotic tubulin homolog TubZ to effect DNA partition
Ni, L, Xu, W, Kumaraswami, M & Schumacher, MA 2010, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol 107, no. 26, pp. 11763-11768. DOI: