James P. Coleman
AB, Dartmouth College
MS, North Carolina State University
PhD, North Carolina State University
My laboratory has been active in an ongoing collaboration with the laboratory of Dr. Everett C. Pesci, focused on the pathway of biosynthesis of the Pseudomonas Quinolone Signal (PQS) and the mechanism by which it regulates virulence gene expression. This PQS signal molecule PQS, 2-heptyl-3-hydroxy-4-quinolone, is produced by Pseudomonas aeruginosa and plays a central role in the regulation of numerous virulence factors in this organism which enable it to cause infections in plants, insects, and animals. Our work currently is focused on the pqsABCDE operon, specifically, the pqsA gene product, which we have determined to be an anthranilic acid – coenzyme A ligase. We are currently studying the kinetic and structural properties of this enzyme to identify potential inhibitors of the reaction and also to facilitate studies on the other gene products of the pqsABCDE operon. Our long term goal is to identify PQS-biosynthetic steps that can be targeted for disruption by specific antimicrobial compounds.
Another research area we continue to pursue is on the characterization of bacteria and enzymes involved in the intestinal and environmental metabolism of bile acids and steroids.