Patricia Champion

Associate Professor of Biological Sciences


217 Galvin Life Sciences

Research Cluster

Imaging & Structure, Networks & Interactions

Protein Transport in Mycobacterial Pathogens

Tuberculosis (TB) is the leading cause of death by infectious disease globally. It is estimated that one in three people worldwide are infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the causative agent of TB. Although only 5-10% of infected people develop active disease, there are still approximately 1.4 million deaths annually (WHO). This burden of infection and disease is in part due to a lack of a viable vaccine that protects adults from pulmonary disease, the most common form of TB. To develop the vaccines and therapeutics needed to control the TB epidemic, we first need a better understanding of M. tuberculosis biology and the mechanisms it uses to cause disease. A key mechanism that bacteria use to promote their survival within the host is the targeted transport of bacterial proteins, small molecules or nucleic acids directly into the host (secretion). The long-term goal of my research program is to define the mechanisms of regulation and transport that promote protein secretion in Mycobacteria. To address this goal, we are focused on how the protein transport machinery is regulated, how it is assembled and how it functions in mycobacterial pathogens. We are interested in discovering: 1) how proteins that make up the machinery physically interact with each other and with the mycobacterial membranes 2) how protein substrates are selected for transport 3) the signals that regulate protein transport and how they are integrated by the mycobacterial cell 4) how genes and proteins associated with protein transport are regulated at the molecular level. To address these interests, we use an interdisciplinary approach including genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry and enzymology, and proteomics.


  1. "A Nonsense Mutation in Mycobacterium marinum That is Suppressible by a Novel Mechanism" Williams, E.A.; Mba Medie, F.; Bosserman, R.E.; Johnson, B.K.; Reyna, C.; Ferrell, M.J.; Champion, M.M.; Abramovitch, R.B.; Champion, P.A. Infect. Immun. 2017, 85(2).
  2. "Rational engineering of a virulence gene from Mycobacterium tuberculosis facilitates proteomic analysis of a natural protein N-terminus" Reyna, C.; Mba Medie, F.; Champion, M.M.; Champion, P.A. Sci. Rep. 2016, 6, 33265.
  3. "Correlation of phenotypic profiles using targeted proteomics identifies Esx-1 substrates" Champion, M.M.; Williams, E.A.; Pinapati, R.S.; Champion, P.A. J. Proteome Research 2014, 13(11), 5151-5164.
  4. "Direct detection of bacterial protein secretion using whole colony proteomics" Champion, M.M.; Williams, E.A.; Kennedy, G.M.; Champion, P.A. Mol. Cell Proteomics, 2012, 11(9), 596-604.