Rhonda Caston

Rhonda Caston

Microbiology & Immunology

PI: Timothy Cover, M.D.

Analysis of the mechanism and function of VacA, a toxin of H. pylori

Helicobacter pylori is a Gram- negative bacterium that colonizes the gastric mucosal of billions of people globally. Although many people are asymptomatic, several diseases can occur, including gastric cancer. It has been shown that strains producing virulence factors such as VacA, a toxin produced by H. pylori, are associated with an increased risk of gastric cancer and peptic ulcer disease. My project focuses on comparative studies of the functional properties of various forms of VacA, investigating VacA secretion, and analyzing the mechanistic basis for why different forms of the toxin display differing levels of activity.