Genetic Characterization and Biology of Plague from Multiple Foci

Summary

Principal Investigator: David M Wagner
Abstract: [unreadable] DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Disease transmission patterns across different spatial landscapes can be reconstructed using molecular genetic variation to characterize pathogen population structure. Yersinia pestis, causative agent of plague, has impacted humans for thousands of years as it spread locally and globally in major pandemic episodes. As is the case with any recently emerged pathogen, molecular variation for characterizing population structure is rare, which makes population analysis difficult or of poor resolution. We have discovered and developed hypervariable VNTR loci that can be used to determine Y. pestis population structure at multiple spatial scales. We will apply this high-resolution genetic typing system to multiple Y. pestis populations in the western United States and use the resulting information to better understand the biology of this human health threat, model organism, and potential bioterrorism agent. We will genetically characterize the Y. pestis population that was linked to the highly-publicized human cases that were diagnosed in New York City in 2002 and will determine the specific biological components associated with that disease event. In addition, we will genetically characterize multiple epizootic Y. pestis populations from the southwestern United States, including populations on Navajo Nation. Our investigation of multiple plague outbreaks on Navajo Nation and surrounding areas will provide important scientific data that can be used to develop models to predict plague activity in this region, directly addressing one of the objective of NIAID's research program to acquire knowledge that will eventually lead to the prevention of this infectious disease in humans. The results of this study will improve our nation's ability to respond to acts of bioterrorism involving plague by 1) validating the actual assay that would be used to investigate such an attack, 2) populating the genetic database that would be used to pinpoint the source of the strain used in such an attack, and 3) increasing our understanding of VNTR mutation rates that would be used to link the strain to its source. The results of our research will be relevant to public health in several different ways. This widespread effect is due to the fact that plague is 1) a continuing human health threat in some regions of the United States that disproportionately affects Native Americans, 2) a model disease system that can provide insights into more common infectious diseases and future emergent disease threats, and 3) a potential agent of bioterrorism. [unreadable] [unreadable] [unreadable]
Funding Period: 2006-08-01 - 2009-07-31
more information: NIH RePORT

Top Publications

  1. pmc Selective isolation of Yersinia pestis from plague-infected fleas
    Derek S Sarovich
    Center for Microbial Genetics and Genomics, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Arizona, USA
    J Microbiol Methods 82:95-7. 2010
  2. pmc Assays for the rapid and specific identification of North American Yersinia pestis and the common laboratory strain CO92
    Amy J Vogler
    Department of Biological Sciences, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ 86011 5640, USA
    Biotechniques 44:201, 203-4, 207. 2008
  3. pmc Humans and evolutionary and ecological forces shaped the phylogeography of recently emerged diseases
    PAUL S KEIM
    The Center for Microbial Genetics and Genomics, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ 86011 4073, USA
    Nat Rev Microbiol 7:813-21. 2009
  4. pmc Fine-scale identification of the most likely source of a human plague infection
    Rebecca E Colman
    Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Arizona 86011 5640, USA
    Emerg Infect Dis 15:1623-5. 2009

Scientific Experts

  • Virginia Coryell
  • David M Wagner
  • Rebecca E Colman
  • Paul Keim
  • Amy J Vogler
  • Derek S Sarovich
  • PAUL S KEIM
  • Judy Lee
  • Kacy R Cobble
  • Wai Kwan Chung
  • James M Schupp
  • Erin P Price
  • Joseph D Busch
  • James Alexander
  • Christina Morway
  • Michael Y Kosoy
  • Paul Ettestad
  • Kenneth L Gage
  • Pamela J Reynolds
  • Jennifer L Lowell
  • Gary L Andersen
  • Raymond K Auerbach
  • Patricia L Worsham
  • Miles Stanley
  • Lyndsay Radnedge
  • Kristy Kubota
  • Christopher J Allender
  • Elizabeth M Driebe

Detail Information

Publications5

  1. pmc Selective isolation of Yersinia pestis from plague-infected fleas
    Derek S Sarovich
    Center for Microbial Genetics and Genomics, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Arizona, USA
    J Microbiol Methods 82:95-7. 2010
    ..CIN media is effective for the differentiation of Y. pestis from flea commensal flora and is sufficiently inhibitory to other bacteria that typically outcompete Y. pestis after 48 h of growth using less selective media...
  2. pmc Assays for the rapid and specific identification of North American Yersinia pestis and the common laboratory strain CO92
    Amy J Vogler
    Department of Biological Sciences, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ 86011 5640, USA
    Biotechniques 44:201, 203-4, 207. 2008
    ..We present TaqMan-minor groove binding (MGB) assays for an SNP that separates the Yersinia pestis strain CO92 from all other strains and for another SNP that separates North American strains from all other global strains...
  3. pmc Humans and evolutionary and ecological forces shaped the phylogeography of recently emerged diseases
    PAUL S KEIM
    The Center for Microbial Genetics and Genomics, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ 86011 4073, USA
    Nat Rev Microbiol 7:813-21. 2009
    ..This Review describes the distributions of the bacteria that cause anthrax, plague and tularaemia and investigates the forces that created clonal structures in these species...
  4. pmc Fine-scale identification of the most likely source of a human plague infection
    Rebecca E Colman
    Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Arizona 86011 5640, USA
    Emerg Infect Dis 15:1623-5. 2009
    ..We illustrate the utility of this approach using data from a North American human plague investigation...