Beth Lazazzera

Work Address:
Molecular Sciences
Los Angeles, CA 90095 Molecular Sciences
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Associate Professor, Microbiology, Immunology & Molecular Genetics
Member, Immunity, Microbes & Molecular Pathogenesis GPB Home Area
Research Interests
Our laboratory studies the molecular basis of how bacterial cells are able to communicate through a process called quorum sensing. We also have begun applying our expertise to study the physiological role of tRNA synthetase editing in bacteria. QUORUM SENSING Quorum sensing (QS) is a mechanism by which bacteria secrete and sense signaling molecules in order to monitor their cell density. QS regulates such processes as development, antibiotic production, and virulence. We are working to identify new mechanism of QS and their physiological role. We have identified several putative genes for extracellular signaling peptides in the human pathogen Streptococcus pneumoniae, some of which sit inside island of pathogenicity genes. We have recently shown that one of these peptide signaling cassettes is required for virulence by S. pneumoniae. Our goal is to determine whether these putative signaling peptides mediate QS and how they contribute to virulence. EDITING FUNCTION OF tRNA SYNTHETASES Aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases (aaRSs) are ancient and universally essential enzymes that pair tRNAs with the corresponding amino acids. To enhance accuracy, many aaRSs employ an editing activity that hydrolyzes incorrectly activated amino acids. Editing significantly decreases the frequency of mistakes in vitro, although the physiological role of editing in cells remains unknown, as aaRS editing functions are dispensable under certain conditions and absent in some cell types. Through a combination of genetic and physiological tests, we will determine under what conditions aaRS editing is required for viability. Specifically, we will test the hypothesis that editing is required under conditions of extreme slow cell growth.

Beth A. Lazazzera is a microbiologist who has been an arrived at UCLA in 1999 and was promoter to associate professor in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics in 2007. Dr. Lazazzera earned her B.S. in Microbiology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and her Ph.D. in Bacteriology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Her doctoral work advanced our understanding of the mechanism by which E. coli cells sense oxygen. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she began her work on bacterial communication, having identified a novel mechanism for bacterial cell-to-cell signaling.


A selected list of publications:

Lanigan-Gerdes S, Dooley AN, Faull KF, Lazazzera BA   Identification of subtilisin, Epr and Vpr as enzymes that produce CSF, an extracellular signalling peptide of Bacillus subtilis Molecular Microbiology, 2007; 65: 1321-33.
Stanley, NR Lazazzera, BA   Defining the genetic differences between wild and domestic strains of Bacillus subtilis that affect poly-gamma-dl-glutamic acid production and biofilm formation Molecular microbiology. , 2005; 57(4): 1143-58.
Hamon, MA Stanley, NR Britton, RA Grossman, AD Lazazzera, BA   Identification of AbrB-regulated genes involved in biofilm formation by Bacillus subtilis Molecular microbiology. , 2004; 52(3): 847-60.
Stanley, NR Lazazzera, BA   Environmental signals and regulatory pathways that influence biofilm formation Molecular microbiology. , 2004; 52(4): 917-24.
Pottathil, M Lazazzera, BA   The extracellular Phr peptide-Rap phosphatase signaling circuit of Bacillus subtilis Frontiers in bioscience : a journal and virtual library. , 2003; 8: d32-45.
Stanley NR, Britton RA, Grossman AD, Lazazzera BA   Identification of catabolite repression as a physiological regulator of biofilm formation by Bacillus subtilis by use of DNA microarrays J Bacteriol, 2003; 185: 1951-1957.
Lazazzera BA   The intracellular funciton of extracellular signaling peptides Peptides, 2001; 22: 1519-1527.
Hamon, MA Lazazzera, BA   The sporulation transcription factor Spo0A is required for biofilm development in Bacillus subtilis Molecular microbiology. , 2001; 42(5): 1199-209.
Lazazzera, BA   Quorum sensing and starvation: signals for entry into stationary phase Current opinion in microbiology. , 2000; 3(2): 177-82.
Terra Rebecca, Stanley-Wall Nicola R, Cao Guoqiang, Lazazzera Beth A   Identification of Bacillus subtilis SipW as a bifunctional signal peptidase that controls surface-adhered biofilm formation Journal of bacteriology, 2012; 194(11): 2781-90.
Anderson Timothy D, Robson Scott A, Jiang Xiao Wen, Malmirchegini G Reza, Fierobe Henri-Pierre, Lazazzera Beth A, Clubb Robert T   Assembly of minicellulosomes on the surface of Bacillus subtilis Applied and environmental microbiology, 2011; 77(14): 4849-58.
Reynolds Noah M, Lazazzera Beth A, Ibba Michael   Cellular mechanisms that control mistranslation Nature reviews. Microbiology, 2010; 8(12): 849-56.
Lazazzera Beth A   The phosphoenolpyruvate phosphotransferase system: as important for biofilm formation by Vibrio cholerae as it is for metabolism in Escherichia coli Journal of bacteriology, 2010; 192(16): 4083-5.
Lanigan-Gerdes Sara, Briceno Geraldine, Dooley Alek N, Faull Kym F, Lazazzera Beth A   Identification of residues important for cleavage of the extracellular signaling peptide CSF of Bacillus subtilis from its precursor protein Journal of bacteriology, 2008; 190(20): 6668-75.