Michael Povelones, PhD

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Graduate Group Affiliations

Contact information
Department of Pathobiology
School of Veterinary Medicine
3800 Spruce St., Room 390 ED
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Office: 215-898-4144
BA (Chemistry)
Columbia University, 1995.
PhD (Developmental Biology)
Stanford University School of Medicine, 2004.
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Description of Research Expertise

Our main research interest is innate immune recognition and elimination of pathogens. Our work focuses on the interaction between mosquitoes and the animal and human pathogens they transmit. As insects are the most species-rich group of animals on the planet and occupy a vast array of ecological niches, they are a fantastic example of the potentcy of innate defenses.

Rather than passive carriers of malaria, mosquitoes are actually amazing parasite killers. In fact, the vast majority of the parasites ingested when a mosquito bites a malarious person are attacked and eliminated before they can mount an infection. It is the few parasites that survive (even one is sufficient), that are ultimately responsible for disease transmission.

Some of the questions we are addressing:

-What is the basis of pathogen recognition by the mosquito innate immune system and how do some pathogens manage to escape?

-What is the biochemical mechanism leading from innate recognition to pathogen killing?

-How does mosquito physiology interface with innate immune activation?

Arthropod vectors such as mosquitoes, sand flies and ticks are responsible for transmission of a large number of animal and human diseases worldwide. Studying these organisms may reveal general insights about innate immune defense mechanisms as well as provide novel avenues for controlling the terrible diseases they spread.

Selected Publications

Midega Janet, Blight Joshua, Lombardo Fabrizio, Povelones Michael, Kafatos Fotis, Christophides George K: Discovery and characterization of two Nimrod superfamily members in Anopheles gambiae. Pathogens and global health 107(8): 463-74, Dec 2013.

Povelones Michael, Christophides George K: Meeting report of the Mosquito Kolymbari Meeting 2013. Pathogens and global health 107(8): 393-9, Dec 2013.

Povelones Michael, Bhagavatula Lavanya, Yassine Hassan, Tan Lee Aun, Upton Leanna M, Osta Mike A, Christophides George K: The CLIP-domain serine protease homolog SPCLIP1 regulates complement recruitment to microbial surfaces in the malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae. PLoS pathogens 9(9): e1003623, Sept 2013.

Povelones Michael, Upton Leanna M, Sala Katarzyna A, Christophides George K: Structure-function analysis of the Anopheles gambiae LRIM1/APL1C complex and its interaction with complement C3-like protein TEP1. PLoS pathogens 7(4): e1002023, Apr 2011.

Waterhouse Robert M, Povelones Michael, Christophides George K: Sequence-structure-function relations of the mosquito leucine-rich repeat immune proteins. BMC genomics 11: 531, Sept 2010.

Jaramillo-Gutierrez Giovanna, Rodrigues Janneth, Ndikuyeze Georges, Povelones Michael, Molina-Cruz Alvaro, Barillas-Mury Carolina: Mosquito immune responses and compatibility between Plasmodium parasites and anopheline mosquitoes. BMC microbiology 9: 154, Jul 2009.

Povelones Michael, Waterhouse Robert M, Kafatos Fotis C, Christophides George K: Leucine-rich repeat protein complex activates mosquito complement in defense against Plasmodium parasites. Science (New York, N.Y.) 324(5924): 258-61, Apr 2009.

Chen Wei-Shen, Antic Dragana, Matis Maja, Logan Catriona Y, Povelones Michael, Anderson Graham A, Nusse Roel, Axelrod Jeffrey D: Asymmetric homotypic interactions of the atypical cadherin flamingo mediate intercellular polarity signaling. Cell 133(6): 1093-105, Jun 2008.

Habtewold Tibebu, Povelones Michael, Blagborough Andrew M, Christophides George K: Transmission blocking immunity in the malaria non-vector mosquito Anopheles quadriannulatus species A. PLoS pathogens 4(5): e1000070, May 2008.

Povelones Michael, Howes Rob, Fish Matt, Nusse Roel: Genetic evidence that Drosophila frizzled controls planar cell polarity and Armadillo signaling by a common mechanism. Genetics 171(4): 1643-54, Dec 2005.

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Last updated: 07/24/2015
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