After returning home to New York from Philadelphia at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we were acutely aware of the damage caused by this debilitating virus, given that New York was widely regarded as the “epicenter” of the American coronavirus outbreak.
The Boesze-Battaglia lab in the Biochemistry Department at University of Pennsylvania – School of Dental Medicine is investigating P. gingivalis’s journey upon phagocytosis by macrophages and how changes in MREG expression may influence this pathway. We specifically determine whether P. gingivalis can alter endosomal trafficking by effecting MREG expression. Evidence suggests that P. gingivalis escapes immediate degradation through colocalization with MREG and LC3II positive autophagosomes in murine macrophages. This could allow P. gingivalis to survive in nutrient-rich intracellular niches and may be a virulence factor.