Office: LSF 255A
Ph.D. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Louisiana State University Medical Center 2004
Medical University of Warsaw 1996
Introduction to Genetics - GEN3020/3020H
Molecular Genetics Lab - GEN 3030
Directed Research - GEN 4910
Senior Seminar - GEN 4930
Microbial pathogens utilize a variety of strategies to facilitate survival in the infected host. One of the most important mechanisms is the ability to respond to stress and adapt to an adverse host environment. Therefore, inhibiting stress response pathways constitutes a promising antimicrobial therapy.
I study a human fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans to understand the mechanistic cellular processes used by pathogenic microorganisms to allow survival in the infected host. C. neoformans is a major opportunistic fungal pathogen worldwide and a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in AIDS patients. In addition, the sibling species, Cryptococcus gattii is responsible for the recent outbreak of fungal-caused meningitis in the Pacific north-west of the U.S.
Our work with C. neoformans has led us to hypothesize that this pathogen has evolved unique pathways to control cell division in a manner that allows it to survive within a human host. Testing this hypothesis would provide insights into how eukaryotic pathogens adapt to the host environment and could potentially reveal new targets for therapeutic interventions. In addition, our research will lead to an improved understanding of the evolutionary events that have resulted in alternative mechanisms of mitosis. My research program has the following three main aims: 1. Explore molecular basis for stress-induced changes in ploidy in C. neoformans, 2. Explain the intriguing interconnection between cytokinesis, endocytosis, and stress response in C. neoformans, 3. Elucidate the function of septins, filament forming GTPases, in stress response and pathogenicity of C. neoformans.
1. Altamirano S., Chandrasekaran S., Kozubowski L., Mechanisms of Cytokinesis in Basidiomycetous Yeasts, 2017, Fungal Biology Reviews (In Press).
2. Esher SK, Ost KS, Kozubowski L, Yang DH, Kim MS, Bahn YS, Alspaugh JA, Nichols CB, Relative Contributions of Prenylation and Postprenylation Processing in Cryptococcus neoformans Pathogenesis, mSphere Mar 2016, 1 (2) e00084-15
3. Janbon G, et al., Analysis of the genome and transcriptome of Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii reveals complex RNA expression and microevolution leading to virulence attenuation, 2014, PLoS Genet. Apr 17;10 (4) (a multi-laboratory contribution of 52 authors)
4. Kozubowski L, Yadav V, Chatterjee G, Sridhar S, Yamaguchi M, Kawamoto S, Bose I, Heitman J, Sanyal K, Ordered kinetochore assembly in the human-pathogenic basidiomycetous yeast Cryptococcus neoformans, MBio, 2013 Oct 1;4(5), PMID: 24085781
5. Ballou ER, Kozubowski L, Nichols CB, Alspaugh JA, Ras1 acts through duplicated Cdc42 and Rac proteins to regulate morphogenesis and pathogenesis in the human fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans, PLoS Genet. 2013 Aug; 9(8), PMID: 23950731
6. Wang X, Li W, Sun S, Kozubowski L, Lee SC, Feretzaki M, Heitman J, Know your enemy: how to build and vanquish a global fungal scourge, Mycopathologia, 2012 Jun;173(5-6):295-301, PMCID:
7. Kozubowski L, Heitman J, Profiling a killer, the development of Cryptococcus neoformans, FEMS Microbiol. Rev., 2012 Jan; 36(1):78-94, PMCID: PMC3318972
8. Aboobakar EF, Wang X, Heitman J, and Kozubowski L, The C2 domain protein Cts1 functions in the calcineurin signaling circuit during high temperature stress responses in Cryptococcus neoformans, Eukaryot. Cell, 2011 Dec; 10(12):1714-23, PMCID: PMC3232716 (senior author publication)
9. Kozubowski L, Aboobakar AF, Cardenas ME, Heitman J, Calcineurin co-localizes with P-bodies and stress granules during thermal stress in Cryptococcus neoformans, Eukaryot. Cell, 2011 Nov; 10(11):1396-402, PMCID: PMC3209054
10. Kozubowski L, Thompson JW, Cardenas ME, Moseley MA, Heitman J, Association of Calcineurin with the COPI Protein Sec28 and the COPII Protein Sec13 Revealed by Quantitative Proteomics, PLoS One, 2011; 6(10):e25280, PMCID: PMC3184950
11. Chen Y, Kozubowski L, Cardenas M, Heitman J, On the roles of calcineurin in fungal growth and pathogenicity, 2010 Curr. Fungal Infect. Rep., Vol 4, (4), 244-255, (PubMed in process)
12. Larson JR, Kozubowski L, Tatchell K, Changes in Bni4 localization induced by cell stress in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, J. Cell Sci., 2010 Apr 1; 123:1050-9, PMCID: PMC2844317
13. Ballou ER, Nichols CB, Miglia K, Kozubowski L, Alspaugh JA, Two CDC42 paralogues modulate Cryptococcus neoformans thermotolerance and morphogenesis under host physiological conditions, Mol. Microbiol., 2010 Feb 16, 75:763-80, PMID: 20025659
14. Kozubowski L, Heitman J, Septins enforce morphogenetic events during sexual reproduction and contribute to virulence of Cryptococcus neoformans, Mol. Microbiol., 2010 Feb 25, 658-75, PMID: 19943902
15. Kozubowski L, Lee SC, Heitman J, Signaling pathways in the pathogenesis of Cryptococcus, Cell. Microbiol., 2009 Mar 19, 11:370-80, PMCID: PMC3310389
16. Kozubowski L, Saito K, Johnson JM, Howell AS, Zyla TR, Lew DJ, Symmetry-Breaking Polarization Driven by a Cdc42p GEF-PAK Complex, Curr. Biol., 2008 Nov 25, 18:1719-26, PMCID: PMC2803100