Faculty and Research
Heitman Lab Distinguished Undergraduate Alumni
| Eanas Aboobakar
Duke University Medical Center
Duke University School of Medicine
201 Trent Drive
Durham, NC 27710
My research project focused on examining the roles of the calcineurin signaling pathway and the C2 domain protein Cts1 in high temperature growth and virulence of the pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans.
I was an undergraduate student at Duke and graduated in May 2011. I began my work in Dr. Heitman’s lab in September 2008 under the guidance of Dr. Lukasz Kozubowski. My research project focused on examining the roles of the calcineurin signaling pathway and the C2 domain protein Cts1 in high temperature growth and virulence of the pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans.
Calcineurin is an evolutionarily conserved Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent serine/threonine specific protein phosphatase that plays a key role in high temperature growth, cell wall organization, and mating in Cryptococcus neoformans. However, much remains to be elucidated about its function, including its downstream targets and its interactions with other signaling pathways important for C. neoformans growth in mammalian hosts. In a previous study conducted in the Heitman lab, the C2 domain-containing phospholipid-binding protein Cts1 was identified and shown to restore growth at 37°C in a calcineurin mutant strain when overexpressed.
My project focused on further examining the link between the calcineurin pathway and Cts1. We demonstrated that Cts1 is a phosphoprotein and functions in the calcineurin signaling circuit during high temperature stress. Additionally, we examined the localization of Cts1 and explored potential roles of Cts1 in cytokinesis, endocytosis, and mRNA processing.
I am currently a medical student at the Duke University School of Medicine.
Aboobakar, E.F., Wang, X., Heitman, J. and L. Kozubowski. The C2 Domain Protein Cts1 Functions in the Calcineurin Signaling Circuit during High-Temperature Stress Responses in Cryptococcus neoformans. Eukaryotic Cell, 10: 1714-1723, 2011.
Kozubowski, L., Aboobakar, E.F., Cardenas, M.E., and J. Heitman. Calcineurin colocalizes with P-bodies and stress granules during thermal stress in Cryptococcus neoformans. Eukaryotic Cell, 10: 1396-1402.
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