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Keith M. Derbyshire, Ph.D.

  • Keith M. Derbyshire

    Keith M. Derbyshire, Ph.D.

    • Director of the Division of Genetics
    • Molecular Genetics of Mycobacteria
    • Faculty Member, Wadsworth School of Laboratory Sciences Molecular Genetics
    • Professor, School of Public Health, Biomedical Sciences

    • Ph.D., Edinburgh University (1983)
    • Postdoctoral training: Yale University
    • Fellow of the American Association for Advancement of Science

    keith.derbyshire@health.ny.gov
    (518) 473-6079
    Fax: (518) 486-7971

  • M. smegmatis ESX-1 proteins fused to the yellow fluorescent protein are seen as distinct foci localized to the cell pole.
    The Esx-1 secretion apparatus is localized to the cell poles of M. smegmatis. When Esx-1 structural proteins from either M. tuberculosis or M. smegmatis are fused to the yellow fluorescent protein, and cells visualized by fluorescence microscopy, the proteins are localized to a cell pole. Thus, the Esx-1 structural apparatus has a unique cellular location.

Research Interests

Mycobacterium tuberculosis is a leading cause of death by an infectious agent. It is estimated that one-third of the world’s population is infected with M. tuberculosis and that 1.6 million people die of tuberculosis every year. Its deadly synergistic association with HIV, and the appearance of MDR and XDR strains, exacerbate the global health problems associated with the disease. A comprehensive understanding of the biology of this organism is critical for the identification of novel drug targets, for the development of vaccines, and for determining how it evades the host immune system. This requires the development of basic molecular techniques to determine the genetic and biochemical basis of pathogenesis and drug resistance. To this end, the laboratory utilizes both basic molecular genetic techniques and state-of-the-art genome-wide approaches to determine the genetic architecture, expression and functions of mycobacterial genes.

The current research projects in the laboratory are:

  1. Distributive conjugal transfer (DCT) and genetic exchange in mycobacteria
  2. ESX secretion systems and their role in DCT and cell-cell communication
  3. Genome architecture of mycobacteria and the mechanism of leaderless gene expression
  4. Characterization of the mycobacterial small proteome

To learn more, please visit the Derbyshire and Gray Laboratory.

Select Publications

Gray TA, Derbyshire KM.
Blending genomes: distributive conjugal transfer in mycobacteria, a sexier form of HGT.
Mol Microbiol.
(2018)
108
(6):
601-613.
Clark RR, Judd J, Lasek-Nesselquist E, Montgomery SA, Hoffmann JG, Derbyshire KM3, Gray TA.
Direct cell-cell contact activates SigM to express the ESX-4 secretion system in Mycobacterium smegmatis.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A.
(2018)
115
(28):
E6595-E660.
Gray TA, Clark RR, Boucher N, Lapierre P, Smith C, Derbyshire KM.
Intercellular communication and conjugation are mediated by ESX secretion systems in mycobacteria.
Science.
(2016)
354
(6310):
347-350.
Shell SS, Wang J, Lapierre P, Mir M, Chase MR, Pyle M, Gawande R, Ahmad R, Sarracino D, Ioerger TR, Fortune SM, Derbyshire KM, Wade JT, Gray TA.
Leaderless transcripts and small proteins are common features of the mycobacterial translational landscape.
PLOS Genetics.
(2015)
11
(11):
e1005641.
Gray TA, Krywy JA, Harold J, Palumbo MJ, Derbyshire KM.
Distributive Conjugal Transfer in Mycobacteria Generates Progeny with Meiotic-Like Genome-Wide Mosaicism, Allowing Mapping of a Mating Identity Locus.
Plos Biology.
(2013)
11
(7):
e1001602.