Microbiology Experts

Kelly A Brayton

veterinary microbiology and pathology
Washington State University
United States of America


BA: Texas A&M, Biology PhD: Purdue University, Biochemistry Post-doc: Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute (South Africa), Molecular Biology

Research Interest

My research focuses on hemoparasitic disease employing comparative and functional genomics and transcriptomics and molecular methods. I work in the areas of transmission biology, pathogen persistence and vaccine discovery. Comparative genomics of Anaplasma marginale: I completed the first genome sequence for A. marginale (Brayton et al., 2005) prior to the high throughput era which detailed the metabolic capacity of the pathogen and revealed that the surface proteome was smaller than expected and skewed to two families of surface proteins, Msp2 and Msp1. Subsequent genome sequences were used in comparative genomics strategies that have defined a list of genes involved in tick transmission (Dark et al., 2009; Aguilar Pierlé et al., 2012). Comparative analyses have shown that A. marginale has a closed core genome (individual strains do not have unique genes), contrasted with a moderately high degree of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) There is a high degree of genome synteny (conservation of gene order), which has been exploited to analyze the msp2 gene repertoire, showing conservation of alleles throughout the U.S., and hinting at a mechanism for evolution of the msp2 repertoire. A recent collaboration with the Tick Fever Centre in Australia allowed for comparison of a virulent, tick transmissible strain with a non-transmissible, apathogenic strain. These comparisons revealed 1) markers to distinguish between the low virulence strain and Australian field isolates and 2) that Australian isolates appear to be more closely related as they have many fewer SNPs than do U. S. strains (Aguilar Pierlé et al., 2014).


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