Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Penn State Science
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Emily Weinert

Emily Weinert

Main Content

  • Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
306 Althouse Laboratory
University Park, PA 16802
Phone: (814) 865-3719

Websites

Education

  • B.S. Duke University, 2002
  • Ph.D., University of Maryland, 2006
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California, Berkeley, 2006-2011

 

Research Summary

Bacterial Oxygen Sensing

The ability of heme proteins to reversibly bind diatomic ligands allows organisms to sense changes in their environment. Recently, changes in gaseous ligand concentrations have been proposed to be involved in the pathogenesis of a variety of bacteria. Our work focuses on understanding how the globin coupled sensor protein family senses oxygen and transmits the binding signal into downstream events. Understanding how these diatomic signals are transduced will elucidate the role of heme sensors in bacterial signaling pathways and pathogenesis, as well as potentially yield starting points for the development of novel antibacterial agents.

Atypical Cyclic Nucleotides

Nucleotides play a number of important roles as second messengers involved in both eukaryotic and prokaryotic signaling. Mounting evidence suggests that there may be additional nucleotide signaling pathways but very little is known about the proteins involved. Our work aims to identify new cyclic nucleotide-dependent pathways in bacteria, including the proteins and signals involved in sensing cNMPs and regulating cNMP levels. These studies provide basic insights into novel cellular signaling pathways and metabolism, as well as the phenotypes controlled by cNMPs.

Selected Publications

  • Rivera, S.; Paul, P.G.; Hoffer, E.D.; Vansuch, G.E.; Metzler, C.L.; Dunham, C.M.; Weinert, E.E. (2018) Structural Insights into Oxygen-Dependent Signal Transduction within Globin Coupled Sensors. Inorg. Chem. 57, 14386-14395. DOI: 10.1021/acs.inorgchem.8b02584
  • Fontaine, B.M.; Martin, K.S.; Garcia-Rodriguez, J.M.; Jung, C.; Briggs, L.; Southwell, J.E.; Jia, X.; Weinert, E.E. (2018) RNase I Regulates E. coli 2′,3′-Cyclic Nucleotide Monophosphate Levels and Biofilm Formation. Biochem. J. 475, 1491-1506. DOI: 10.1042/BCJ20170906
  • Burns, J.L.; Jariwala, P.B.; Rivera, S.; Fontaine, B.M.; Briggs, L.; Weinert, E.E. (2017) Oxygen-Dependent Globin Coupled Sensor Signaling Modulates Motility and Virulence of the Plant Pathogen Pectobacterium carotovorumACS Chem. Biol. 12, 2070-2077. DOI: 10.1021/acschembio.7b00380
  • Jia, X.; Wang, J.-b.; Rivera, S.; Duong, D.; Weinert, E.E. (2016) An O2-sensing stressosome from a Gram-negative bacterium. Nature Commun. 7, 12381. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms12381

Honors and Awards

  • • Emory Crystal Apple Award for Excellence in Graduate Education (2017)
  • • National Science Foundation CAREER Award (8/2014 - 7/2019)
  • • Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Individual Fellowship (09/2007 -9/2010)
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