George A. O'Toole, Ph.D.
Professor of Microbiology and Immunology
Microbiology and Immunology
University of Wisconsin - Madison, Ph.D., 1994
Cornell University, B.S., 1988
After postdoctoral work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Harvard Medical School, Dr. O'Toole joined the faculty of the Department of Microbiology at Dartmouth Medical School in 1999
Molecular and Cellular Biology Graduate Programs
Molecular Pathogenesis Program
Dartmouth Medical School
Vail Building - HB 7550
Hanover NH 03755
The main focus of the O’Toole laboratory is the study of complex surface-attached bacterial communities known as biofilms. Biofilms can form on a wide variety of surfaces including catheter lines, surgical implants, contact lenses, the lungs of patients with cystic fibrosis, industrial and drinking water pipelines, and on the surfaces of plant roots. In most natural, clinical, and industrial settings bacteria live predominantly in biofilms and not as planktonic (free-swimming) cells such as those typically studied in the laboratory. Bacteria growing in biofilm communities are of great interest to the medical community, because these bacteria become highly resistant to antibiotics by an as yet unknown mechanism. Although much has been learned about the types of microbes that can form biofilms, the morphology of these communities, and their chemical/physical properties, until recently little was known about the molecular genetic basis of biofilm formation or antibiotic resistance.
Studies in the O’Toole lab focus on:
• The molecular genetic basis of biofilm formation.
• The role of the intracellular signaling molecule c-di-GMP in controlling biofilm formation by pseudomonads.
• The signal transduction pathways regulating biofilm formation.
• The mechanisms by which biofilms form on biotic, or living surfaces, and why these biofilms are so highly resistant to antibiotics. We have developed a novel model system for studying biofilms on airway epithelial cells, and these studies are done, in particular, in the context of cystic fibrosis.
• The role of lysogenic phages in impacting biofilm formation.
Recent collaborative studies with Dr. Bruce Stanton’s group here at Dartmouth have explored questions of host-pathogen interactions, using the interplay between the bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa and airway epithelial cells as a model system. We are particularly interested in the role of the toxin, Cif, in altering epithelial cell biology and protein trafficking. We are also studying mechanisms by which P. aeruginosa delivers toxins to host cells.
Please visit the O'Toole Lab Home Page.
c-di-GMP and its Effects on Biofilm Formation and Dispersion: a Pseudomonas Aeruginosa Review.
Cyclic di-GMP-regulated periplasmic proteolysis of a Pseudomonas aeruginosa type Vb secretion system substrate.
Haemophilus influenzae responds to glucocorticoids used in asthma therapy by modulation of biofilm formation and antibiotic resistance.
Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeat-Dependent, Biofilm-Specific Death of Pseudomonas aeruginosa Mediated by Increased Expression of Phage-Related Genes.
Coculture of Staphylococcus aureus with Pseudomonas aeruginosa Drives S. aureus towards Fermentative Metabolism and Reduced Viability in a Cystic Fibrosis Model.
Associations between Gut Microbial Colonization in Early Life and Respiratory Outcomes in Cystic Fibrosis.
A hierarchical cascade of second messengers regulates Pseudomonas aeruginosa surface behaviors.
Characterization and quantification of the fungal microbiome in serial samples from individuals with cystic fibrosis.
Surface attachment induces Pseudomonas aeruginosa virulence.
Cyclic di-GMP-mediated repression of swarming motility by Pseudomonas aeruginosa PA14 requires the MotAB stator.