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Muthiah Kumaraswami, PhD

Associate Professor of Pathology and Genomic Medicine, Institute for Academic Medicine
Associate 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

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

Environmental pH and peptide signaling control virulence of Streptococcus pyogenes via a quorum-sensing pathway
Do, H, Makthal, N, VanderWal, AR, Saavedra, MO, Olsen, RJ, Musser, JM & Kumaraswami, M 2019, Nature Communications, vol. 10, no. 1, 2586.

Integrated analysis of population genomics, transcriptomics and virulence provides novel insights into Streptococcus pyogenes pathogenesis
Kachroo, P, Eraso, JM, Beres, SB, Olsen, RJ, Zhu, L, Nasser, W, Bernard, PE, Cantu, CC, Saavedra, MO, Arredondo, MJ, Strope, B, Do, H, Kumaraswami, M, Vuopio, J, Gröndahl-Yli-Hannuksela, K, Kristinsson, KG, Gottfredsson, M, Pesonen, M, Pensar, J, Davenport, ER, Clark, AG, Corander, J, Caugant, DA, Gaini, S, Magnussen, MD, Kubiak, SL, Nguyen, HAT, Long, SW, Porter, AR, DeLeo, FR & Musser, JM 2019, Nature Genetics, vol. 51, no. 3, pp. 548-559.

Phosphatase activity of the control of virulence sensor kinase CovS is critical for the pathogenesis of group A streptococcus
Horstmann, N, Tran, CN, Brumlow, C, DebRoy, S, Yao, H, Nogueras Gonzalez, G, Makthal, N, Kumaraswami, M & Shelburne, SA 2018, PLoS Pathogens, vol. 14, no. 10, e1007354.

Signaling by a conserved quorum sensing pathway contributes to growth ex vivo and oropharyngeal colonization of human pathogen group A streptococcus
Makthal, N, Do, H, VanderWal, AR, Olsen, RJ, Musser, JM & Kumaraswami, M 2018, Infection and Immunity, vol. 86, no. 5, e00169-18.

Zinc'ing it out: Zinc homeostasis mechanisms and their impact on the pathogenesis of human pathogen group A streptococcus
Makthal, N & Kumaraswami, M 2017, Metallomics, vol. 9, no. 12, pp. 1693-1702.

Leaderless secreted peptide signaling molecule alters global gene expression and increases virulence of a human bacterial pathogen
Do, H, Makthal, N, VanderWal, AR, Rettel, M, Savitski, MM, Peschek, N, Papenfort, K, Olsen, RJ, Musser, JM & Kumaraswami, M 2017, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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, ST, 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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