Xianzhe Wang, 2013

Bordetella is a genus of gram-negative bacteria causing the infectious disease whoop cough (also known as pertussis), which is especially harmful in children and newborns. There are three major species: B. pertussis, B. parapertussis, and B.bronchiseptica. Currently, B.pertussis is the dominant causing agent in human, and the main target of vaccines.

Despite high vaccination coverage, pertussis still resurges every few years. One possible reason is that the current aceullar vaccine, containing pertussis toxin and a few other protein antigens, might not provide a long-lasting immunity. Bordetella utilizes multiple virulent factors (e.g. pertactin, filamentous hemagglutinin, etc.) to mediate adherence to host cells and toxins (e.g. pertussis toxin, adenylate cyclase toxin, etc.) to subvert the host immune cell functions. Many of these virulent factors are essential for successful initiation and prolonged colonization in the respiratory tract.

This project aims to analyze microarray data from cell lines treated with Bordetella bacterium or toxins to look for their effect on host cell gene expression. One set of data is from mouse dendritic cells treated with B.pertussis or B.parapertussis. Another set of data uses pertussis toxin, the major vaccine antigen, to treat mouse brain endothelial cells.