Jannell Bazurto
Office Address

1445 Gortner Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55108
United States



Assistant Professor
Plant and Microbial Biology

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Research statement

Our lab is interested in understanding regulatory mechanisms that allow organisms to thrive on potently toxic metabolites. Methylobacterium species are ubiquitous plant colonizers that promote seed germination and plant development. As a methylotroph, Methylobacterium can grow on reduced one-carbon compounds and benefit from their association with plants by utilizing methanol emitted from plant tissues. Methanol growth uses high-flux carbon utilization pathways that generate formaldehyde as an obligate intermediate; formaldehyde is therefore a central metabolite and a potential stressor. While subsequent formaldehyde utilization is well-characterized, little is known about the cellular consequences of formaldehyde imbalance in Methylobacterium or the mechanisms used to maintain intracellular homeostasis and avert/repair cellular damage. We combine traditional bacteriology approaches with experimental evolution and systems-level analyses to characterize metabolic control points and their role in the mutually beneficial relationship between Methylobacterium and plants.

Selected publications

Bazurto JV, Nayak DD, Ticak T, Davlieva M, Lee JA, Hellenbrand CN, Lambert LB, Benski OJ, Quates CJ, Johnson JL, Patel JS, Ytreberg FM, Shamoo Y, Marx CJ. EfgA is a conserved formaldehyde sensor that leads to bacterial growth arrest in response to elevated formaldehyde. PLoS Biol. 2021 May 26;19(5):e3001208. PMID: 34038406; PMCID: PMC8153426. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.3001208

Bazurto JV, Bruger EL, Lee JA, Lambert LB, Marx CJ. Formaldehyde-responsive proteins, TtmR and EfgA, reveal a tradeoff between formaldehyde resistance and efficient transition to methylotrophy in Methylorubrum extorquens. J Bacteriol. 2021 Feb 22;203(9):e00589-20. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33619153; PMCID: PMC8092166. doi: 10.1128/JB.00589-20

Bazurto JV, Riazi S, D'Alton S, Deatherage DE, Bruger EL, Barrick JE, Marx CJ. Global Transcriptional Response of Methylorubrum extorquens to Formaldehyde Stress Expands the Role of EfgA and Is Distinct from Antibiotic Translational Inhibition. Microorganisms. 2021 Feb 10;9(2):347. PMID: 33578755; PMCID: PMC7916467. doi: 10.3390/microorganisms9020347

Bazurto J. V., Farley K. R., and D. M. Downs. 2016. An unexpected route to an essential cofactor: Escherichia coli relies on threonine for thiamine biosynthesis. mBio. 7(1):e01840-15. doi: 10.1128/mBio.01840-15 
Bazurto J. V., Heitman N. J., and D. M. Downs. 2015. Aminoimidazole carboxamide ribotide exerts opposing effects on thiamine synthesis in Salmonella enterica. J. Bacteriol. 197(17):2821-2830.
Bazurto J. V. and D. M. Downs. 2013. Amino-4-imidazolecarboxamide ribotide (AICAR) directly inhibits coenzyme A biosynthesis in Salmonella enterica. J. Bacteriol. 196(4):772-9.
Bazurto J. V. and D. M. Downs. 2013. Crosstalk. Brenner’s Encyclopedia of Genetics. San Diego, CA: Academic Press. Print. 
Bazurto J. V. and D. M. Downs. 2011. Plasticity in the Purine–Thiamine Metabolic Network of Salmonella. Genetics. 187(2):623-631.

Education and background

  • Ph.D. Microbiology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2013 
  • B.S. Molecular Biology and Microbiology, Florida Atlantic University, 2003