2013-06-20 17.46.12_3.jpg
Ellen Neidle (center) and two graduate students, Melissa Tumen-Velasquez (left) and Laura Cuff (right), attended a symposium on Acinetobacter in Germany in 2013. Both students gave talks describing their research. Laura Cuff received her PhD in 2013. Congratulations, Dr. Cuff!

Research Interests:

Research in the Neidle group centers on gene expression, metabolism, and chromosomal rearrangements in a soil bacterium, Acinetobacter baylyi ADP1.  A novel method to study and generate chromosomal gene amplification is used for metabolic engineering and experimental evolution. This research has medical implications because gene amplification is associated with drug resistance, bacterial virulence, cancer, and many human diseases, as published in review articles that we wrote in 2013 and 2007.

Additionally, there are important biotechnology and environmental applications of this work. Gene amplification in strain ADP1 was first discovered during studies of  the degradation of aromatic compounds, as we reported in 2003 and 2004. We are now investigating how these degradative pathways can be exploited to convert lignin-derived aromatic compounds into biofuels and other types of desirable compounds.  Pathways for aromatic compound catabolism also hold great promise for reducing pollution (bioremediation). We described the features of ADP1 that make it an ideal experimental bacterium for fundamental and applied research in 2011.

Complementary investigations of gene expression and metabolic regulation are ongoing. Two LysR-type transcriptional regulators, BenM and CatM, control the expression of many different genes and operons needed for aromatic compound catabolism. Together with Dr. Cory Momany and his research team, we are investigating the molecular details of the function and structure of LysR-type proteins, a large family of homologs that represent the most common type of bacterial transcriptional regulator.

Hannah Toutkoushian
Hannah Toutkoushian participated in the REU (Research Experiences for Undergraduates) Site Program in 2013. She is currently an undergraduate student at Virginia Tech.

Maliha Ishaq
Maliha Ishaq worked in the Neidle lab while she was an undergraduate at UGA. She graduated in December 2013. She was honored to receive an undergraduate research fellowship from the American Society for Microbiology.


Selected Publications:

Elliott, K.T., Cuff, L.E., and Neidle, E.L. (2013) Copy number change: evolving views on gene amplification. Future Microbiology 8:887-899.

Alanazi, A.M., Neidle, E.L., and Momany, C. (2013) The DNA-binding domain of BenM reveals the structural basis for the recognition of a T-N11-A sequence motif by LysR-type transcriptional regulators. Acta Crystallographica Section D-Biological Crystallography 69:1995-2007.

Seaton, S.C., Elliott, K.T., Cuff, L.E., Laniohan, N.S., Patel, P.R., and Neidle, E.L. (2012) Genome-wide selection for increased copy number in Acinetobacter baylyi ADP1: locus and context-dependent variation in gene amplification. Molecular Microbiology 83:520-535.

Momany, C., and Neidle, E.L. (2012) Defying stereotypes: the elusive search for a universal model of LysR-type regulation. Molecular Microbiology 83:453-456.

Elliott, K.T., and Neidle, E.L. (2011) Acinetobacter baylyi ADP1: Transforming the Choice of Model Organism. IUBMB Life 63: 1075-1080.

Craven, S.H., Ezezika, O.C., Haddad, S., Hall, R.A., Momany, C., and Neidle, E.L. (2009) Inducer responses of BenM, a LysR-type transcriptional regulator from Acinetobacter baylyi ADP1. Molecular Microbiology 72: 881-894.