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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

Northwestern Study: Unique Gene Regulation May Add to Plague's Deadly Effects

A novel type of gene regulation in the bacteria Yersinia pestis may help explain why the plague became so deadly. Northwestern Medicine scientist Dr. Wyndham Lathem, assistant professor in microbiology-immunology, discovered that an additional level of protein regulation allows the plague pathogen to fine tune its lethal process. “We found that Y. pestis has incorporated a previously unknown secondary layer to the expression of an essential protein (CRP). This novel process induces protein production at the right time and in the right place, allowing for the pathogen to develop,” said Dr. Lathem, a member of the Center for Genetic Medicine and the Interdepartmental Immunobiology Center.