Sheila A. Lukehart
The Lukehart laboratory studies the pathogenesis of syphilis and the immune response to Treponema pallidum in humans and in animal models. Our current major interest is the 12-membered tpr gene family of T. pallidum, which is hypothesized to encode surface-exposed antigens that are major targets of the protective immune response, may be involved in immune evasion, and are promising vaccine candidates. We have demonstrated that one member of the Tpr family, TprK, undergoes antigenic variation; studies related to the immunological relevance and molecular mechanism of this variation are ongoing. New studies are focused on TprC and TprD, which are also surface exposed, and which differ in sequence among T. pallidum strains and subspecies. The laboratory is also working to identify surface molecules that are targets of opsonization and to define the kinetics of and requirements for bactericidal activity by macrophages. Many of the projects described above involve collaborations with Drs. Arturo Centurion and Lorenzo Giacani.
Additionally, our laboratory is involved in studies of clinical aspects of syphilis. With Dr. Christina Marra (Neurology), the laboratory is exploring the molecular basis for neuroinvasion, the immunologic response to T. pallidum within the CNS, and the efficacy of recommended therapy for CNS syphilis in immunocompetent and HIV-infected patients. Other ongoing studies involve the investigation of emerging macrolide resistance in T. pallidum, application of a molecular typing method for T. pallidum to epidemiological studies of syphilis, and studies of yaws in Papua New Guinea.
Recent Publications from PubMed
- Development of a Multilocus Sequence Typing (MLST) scheme for Treponema pallidum subsp. pertenue: Application to yaws in Lihir Island, Papua New Guinea.Godornes C, Giacani L, Barry AE, Mitja O, Lukehart SAPLoS neglected tropical diseases. 2017 12; 11 12: e0006113
- Effectiveness of single-dose azithromycin to treat latent yaws: a longitudinal comparative cohort study.Mitjà O, González-Beiras C, Godornes C, Kolmau R, Houinei W, Abel H, Kapa A, Paru R, Bieb SV, Wangi J, Sanz S, Asiedu K, Lukehart SA, Bassat QThe Lancet. Global health. 2017 Dec; 5 12: e1268-e1274
- Diagnostics for yaws eradication: insights from direct next generation sequencing of cutaneous strains of Treponema pallidum.Marks M, Fookes M, Wagner J, Butcher R, Ghinai R, Sokana O, Sarkodie YA, Lukehart SA, Solomon AW, Mabey DCW, Thomson NClinical infectious diseases : an official publication of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. 2017 Oct; :
- Neurosyphilis Increases Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)-associated Central Nervous System Inflammation but Does Not Explain Cognitive Impairment in HIV-infected Individuals With Syphilis.Ho EL, Maxwell CL, Dunaway SB, Sahi SK, Tantalo LC, Lukehart SA, Marra CMClinical infectious diseases : an official publication of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. 2017 Sep; 65 6: 943-948
- Haemophilus ducreyi DNA is detectable on the skin of asymptomatic children, flies and fomites in villages of Papua New Guinea.Houinei W, Godornes C, Kapa A, Knauf S, Mooring EQ, González-Beiras C, Watup R, Paru R, Advent P, Bieb S, Sanz S, Bassat Q, Spinola SM, Lukehart SA, Mitjà OPLoS neglected tropical diseases. 2017 May; 11 5: e0004958