Michael C. Lorenz, Ph.D.
- Associate Professor
Department of Microbiology &
University of Texas-Houston Medical School
6431 Fannin Street, MSB 1.209
Houston, Texas 77030
Telephone: (713) 500-7422
Laboratory Telephone: (713) 500-7426
- Lorenz Lab web site
Ph.D., Duke University, 1997
Postdoctoral Fellow, MIT Whitehead Institute
Understanding the molecular basis of fungal infections
Infectious diseases represent one of the most fascinating, and important, fields of microbiology. The human body is one of the most complex and dynamic environments to which microbes have adapted, and understanding these adaptations is the key to improving treatment. Infections from eukaryotic pathogens, such as fungi, are particularly difficult to treat because of the extensive similarities in cell physiology between fungal and human cells.
My laboratory studies the most important of the fungal pathogens. Candida albicans causes a disseminated bloodstream infection that is fatal in about 40% of cases. For most of us, however, Candida is a normal and harmless part of our microbiota - the community of microorganisms that lives in and on us. The difference between Candida as a deadly pathogen and Candida as a benign commensal is the status of the host's immune system. Infection occurs in people with immunodeficiencies of some kind.
Thus, we are particularly interested in studying the interaction between C. albicans and cells of the immune system, primary phagocytic cells such as macrophages. In vitro, this interaction is extremely dynamic (see figure below). Phagocytosis stimulates a dramatic morphological change, which helps the yeast escape killing by the macrophage. These filaments, or hyphae, are only a small part of this response, however. We have shown that there are equally dramatic changes to cellular physiology and metabolism when C. albicans is confronted with a phagocytic cell. These changes in carbon metabolism, in particular, are critical during infections and we are very interested in the regulatory and signaling networks that control these responses.
- Jiménez-López, C., Collette, J.R., Brothers, K.M., Shpardson, K.M., Cramer, R.A., Wheeler, R.T., Lorenz, M.C. (2013) Candida albicans arginine biosynthetic genes in response to host-derived reactive oxygen species. Eukaryot. Cell. 12:91-100. [abstract]
- Cruz, M.R., Graham, C.E., Gagliano, B.C., Lorenz, M.C.*, Garsin, D.A.* (2013) Enterococcus faecalis inhibits hyphal morphogenesis and virulence of Candida albicans. Infect. Immun. 81:189-200. [abstract]
- Xu, T., Tripathi, S.K., Feng, Q., Lorenz, M.C., et al. (2012) A potent plant-derived antifungal acetylenic acid mediates its activity by interfering with fatty acid homeostasis. Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 56:2894-2907. [abstract]
- Cottier, F., Raymond, M., Kurzai, O., Bolstad, M., Leewattanapasuk, W., Jiménez-López, C., Lorenz, M.C., et al. (2012) The bZIP transcription factor Rca1p is a central regulator of a novel CO2-sensing pathway in yeast. PLoS Pathog. 8:e1002485. [abstract]
- Collette, J.R., Lorenz, M.C. (2011) Mechanisms of immune evasion in fungal pathogens. Curr. Opin. Microbiol. 14:668-675. [abstract]
- Vylkova, S., Carman, A.J., Danhof, H.A., Collette, J.R., Zhou, H., Lorenz, M.C. (2011) The fungal pathogen Candida albicans autoinduces hyphal morphogenesis by raising extracellular pH. MBio. 17;2:e00055-11. [abstract]
- Lorenz, M.C. (2010) Host-microbe interactions: fungi. Curr. Opin. Microbiol. 13:389-391. No abstract available.
- Butler, G, et. al. (2009) Evolution of pathogenicity and sexual reproduction revealed by comparing eight Candida genomes. Nature 459:657-662. [abstract]
- Ramírez, M.A., Lorenz, M.C. (2009) The transcription factor homolog CTF1 regulates β-oxidation in Candida albicans. Eukaryot. Cell. 8:1604-1614. [abstract]
- Carman, A.J., Vylkova S., Lorenz, M.C. (2008) The role of acetyl-CoA synthesis and breakdown in alternative carbon metabolism in Candida albicans. Eukaryot. Cell 7:1733-1741. [abstract]
- Zhou, H., Lorenz, M.C. (2008) Carnitine acetyltransferases are required for growth on non-fermentable carbon sources but not for pathogenesis in Candida albicans. Microbiol. 154: 500-509. [abstract]
- Chiranand, W., McLeod, I., Zhou, H., Vega, L.A., Myers, H., Yates III, J.R., Lorenz, M.C., Gustin. M.C. (2008) CTA4 transcription factor mediates induction of nitrosative stress responses in Candida albicans. Eukaryot. Cell 7: 268-278 [abstract]
- Agarwal, A.K., Xu, T., Jacob, M.R., Feng, Q., Lorenz, M.C., Walker, L.A., Clark, A.M. (2008) Role of heme in the antifungal activity of the plant alkaloid sampangine. Eukaryot. Cell 7: 387-400. [abstract]
- [Search PubMed for more papers by Michael Lorenz]
Location & Contact
6431 Fannin Street,
Houston, Texas 77030
P.O. Box 20708
Houston, Texas 77225
Our affiliates include the following:
- Departmental Faculty
- Theresa M. Koehler, Ph.D.
- Peter J. Christie, Ph.D.
- Nicholas De Lay, Ph.D.
- Jesus Eraso, Ph.D.
- Danielle Garsin, Ph.D.
- Heidi Kaplan, Ph.D.
- Samuel Kaplan, Ph.D.
- Nayun Kim, Ph.D.
- Ziyin Li, Ph.D.
- Jiqiang (Lanny) Ling, Ph.D.
- Michael C. Lorenz, Ph.D.
- Chris Mackenzie, Ph.D.
- William Margolin, Ph.D.
- Kevin A. Morano, Ph.D.
- Hung Ton-That, Ph.D.
- Ambro van Hoof, Ph.D.
- Departmental Faculty - Cross Appointees
- William Dowhan, Ph.D.
- Millicent Goldschmidt, Ph.D.
- Barrett Harvey, Ph.D.
- Jun Liu, Ph.D.
- Barbara E. Murray, M.D.
- Steven J. Norris, Ph.D.
- John L. Spudich, Ph.D.
- Adjunct Faculty
- Magnus Höök, Ph.D.
- Gregory S. May, Ph.D.
- Yi Xu, Ph.D.