Melanie J. Filiatrault

Melanie J. Filiatrault

Courtesy Assistant Professor

(607) 255-7876

The broad objective of this research is to decipher molecular mechanisms of gene regulation, specifically involving virulence-related genes, in the important model organism Pseudomonas syringae to understand how the bacterium responds to environmental signals on a global scale.  We are using several approaches within our research group (transcriptomics, proteomics and metabolomics) to evaluate global gene regulation in P. syringae.  One aim of the research project is to develop high-throughput approaches that will precisely identify transcription start sites and assign genes to transcriptional units.  These efforts will aid in genome annotation by providing experimental evidence for transcriptional activity of genes classified as “hypothetical” and also may identify transcripts from intergenic regions.  In addition, these genome-scale strategies will delineate promoter sequences, promoter classes, and identify those genes that are co-regulated. These studies will help to provide critical information for a more complete transcriptome analysis of P. syringae which ultimately will help in understanding the pathogenesis of this bacterium. 
Additionally, we are characterizing small non-coding RNAs and RNA binding proteins in gene regulation of P. syringae.  Small RNAs have been demonstrated to play important regulatory roles in bacterial stress responses to diverse environmental signals, such as changes in temperature, osmolarity, iron, and oxidative stress. They are also important components of many regulatory pathways and have been shown to have key roles in regulation of factors important for virulence.  To date, only a few small RNAs and RNA binding proteins have been described in the literature for P. syringae.  Using several global approaches, which include a combination of biocomputational methods, molecular biology, and high throughput sequencing, we are identifying and characterizing small non-coding RNAs of P. syringae.  These studies will aid in the understanding of global gene regulation in P. syringae and provide data for other Pseudomonads and plant pathogens. 

Research Focus

The focus of our research is on the role of small non-coding RNAs and RNA binding proteins in the biology of bacterial plant pathogens (specifically the plant pathogenic bacterium Pseudomonas syringae) and the development of new approaches to perform global transcriptome profiling.

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Awards and Honors

  • Awarded a Ruth L. Kirschstein Postdoctoral National Research Service Award, Individual Fellowship, University of Rochester, July 2003-February 2006
  • National Institutes of Health National Research Service Award Graduate Trainee, University at Buffalo, October 1999-May 2001
  • Ernest Witebsky Memorial Award for Proficiency in Microbiology, University at Buffalo, April 1998

Selected Publications

  • Filiatrault, M.J., G. Tombline, V.E. Wagner, N. Van Alst, K. Rumbaugh, P. Sokol, Johanna Schwingel, and B.H. Iglewski.  2013. Pseudomonas aeruginosa PA1006,which plays a role in molybdenum homeostasis, is required for nitrate utilization, biofilm formation, and virulence. PLoS ONE. 08 Feb 2013. 10.1371/journal.pone.0055594.
  • Tombline, G., J. Schwingle, J. Lapek, A.E. Friedman, T. Darrah, M. Maguire, N. Van Alst, M.J. Filiatrault, and B.H. Iglewski. 2013. Pseudomonas aeruginosa PA1006 is a persulfide-modified protein that is critical for molybdenum homeostasis. PLoS ONE. 08 Feb 2013. 10.1371/journal.pone.0055593.
  • M.J. Filiatrault, P.V. Stodghill, J. Wilson, B.G. Butcher, H. Chen, C.R. Myers, and S. W. Cartinhour. 2013. CrcZ and CrcX regulate carbon source utilization in Pseudomonas syringae pathovar tomato strain DC3000. RNA Biology. 10(2).
  • Park, SH, B.G. Butcher, Z. Anderson, N. Pellegrini, Z. Bao, K.M. D’Amico, and M.J. Filiatrault. 2012. Analysis of the small RNA P16/RgsA in the plant pathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato strain DC3000. Microbiology. 2012 Dec 20 [Epub ahead of print].
  • Filiatrault, M.J., P.V. Stodghill, C.R. Myers, P.A. Bronstein, B.G. Butcher, H. Lam, G. Grills, P. Schweitzer, W. Wang, D.J. Schneider, and S.W. Cartinhour. 2011. Genome-wide identification of transcriptional start sites in the plant pathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato str. DC3000. PLoS ONE. 6(12): e29335. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0029335.
  • Filiatrault, M.J. 2011. Progress in prokaryotic transcriptomics.  Current Opinion in Microbiology. 14 (5). (invited review)
  • Butcher, B.G., P.A. Bronstein, C.R. Myers, P.V. Stodghill, J.J. Bolton, E.J. Markel, Z. Bao, M.J. Filiatrault, B. Swingle, A. Gaballa, J.D. Helmann, and S.W. Cartinhour. 2011. Characterization of the Fur regulon in Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato DC3000. Journal of Bacteriology, 193(18):4598-4611.
  • Moll, S. D.J. Schneider, P. Stodghill, C.R. Myers, S.W. Cartinhour, and M.J. Filiatrault.  2010. Construction of an rsmX co-variance model and identification of five rsmX non-coding RNAs in Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato DC3000.  RNA Biology, 7(5). 
  • Filiatrault, M.J., P.V. Stodghill, P.A. Bronstein, S. Moll, M. Lindeberg, G. Grills, P. Schweitzer, W. Wang, G.P. Schroth, S. Luo, I. Khrebtukova, Y. Yang, T. Thannhausser, B. G Butcher, S. Cartinhour, and D. J. Schneider. 2010. Transcriptome analysis of Pseudomonas syringae identifies new genes, ncRNAs and antisense activity. Journal of Bacteriology, 192(9):2359-72. 
  • Oliver H.F. Orsi RH, Ponnala L, Keich U, Wang W, Sun Q, Cartinhour SW, Filiatrault M.J., Wiedmann M, Boor KJ. 2009. Deep sequencing of L. monocytogenes reveals overlapping and extensive stationary phase and sigma B-dependent transcriptomes, including multiple highly transcribed noncoding RNAs.  BMC Genomics, 10:641.