Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine.
Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Muthiah Kumaraswami Ph.D.

Muthiah Kumaraswami, Ph.D.

Muthiah Kumaraswami, Ph.D.

Muthiah Kumaraswami, Ph.D.

Assistant Member 
Infectious Disease Research Program
The Methodist Hospital Research Institute

Research Scientist
Department of Pathology and Genomic Medicine
The Methodist Hospital

E-mail: mkumaraswami@houstonmethodist.org
Phone: 713-441-5252


Ph.D.   University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center, Memphis, TN (Microbial Genetics and Structural Biology)
B.V.Sc.   Tamilnadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Chennai, India (Basic and Clinical Veterinary Sciences)

Postdoctoral Training

Postdoctoral Fellow, Structural Biology, UT M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX



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.

Major Areas of Research

GAS pathogenesis, Staphylococcus aureus

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. PMID: 23749979 

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. PMID: 23645680 

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. PMID: 22262791 

Shelburne SA 3rd, 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. PMID: 22040048

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. PMID: 22028655

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. PMID: 21859715

Shelburne SA 3rd, Sahasrobhajane P, Suber B, Keith DB, Davenport MT, Horstmann N, Kumaraswami M, Olsen RJ, Brennan RG, Musser JM. Niche-specific contribution to streptococcal virulence of a MalR-regulated carbohydrate binding protein. Mol Microbiol. 2011 Jul;81(2):500-14. PMID: 21645132

Carroll RK, Shelburne SA 3rd, Olsen RJ, Suber B, Sahasrabhojane P, Kumaraswami M, Beres SB, Shea PR, Flores AR, Musser JM. Naturally occurring single amino acid replacements in a regulatory protein alter streptococcal gene expression and virulence in mice. J Clin Invest. 2011 May;121(5):1956-68. PMID: 21490401

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. PMID: 20534443

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 0;398(2):264-75. PMID: 20230832

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. PMID: 19129225

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. PMID: 14729670