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Indiana University Bloomington

Department of Biology

Graduate Studies

Genetics, Cellular & Molecular Sciences Training Grant

Trainee Profile

Amilcar Perez

Photo of Amilcar Perez
Research Image(s)
Localization of the Streptococcus pneumoniae-FtsZ ring (red) surrounding DNA (blue) utilizing 3D-high resolution microscopy.

Localization of the Streptococcus pneumoniae-FtsZ ring (red) surrounding DNA (blue) utilizing 3D-high resolution microscopy.

Streptococcus pneumoniae is an ovococcus (American football) shaped bacteria.

Streptococcus pneumoniae is an ovococcus (American football) shaped bacteria.

Graduate Student
Contact Information
By telephone: 812-856-1184 (lab)
JH A416
Winkler Lab
Department of Biology:
B.S., Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics, University of California Los Angeles, 2013.
NIH Genetic, Cellular, and Molecular Sciences Training Grant, Indiana University (2014-Present)
Floyd Plant and Fungal Biology Summer Fellowship, Indiana University (2014)
James Holland Fellowship, Indiana University 2013-2014
Initiative for Maximizing Student diversity (IMSD) Scholar and Center for Academic Research Excellence (CARE) Scholar and CARE Fellow, UCLA, January 2012-June 2013
Research Description

Elucidation of factors regulating early FtsZ ring dynamics of Streptococcus pneumoniae

Streptococcus pneumoniae is an opportunistic pathogen and commensal bacterium of the human nasopharynx. An aspect of S. pneumoniae biology which has become a feasible target for antibiotics cell division. Fortunately, S. pneumoniae has become a highly genetically tractable model, making it available to dissect this essential process. FtsZ, the prokaryotic homologue of eukaryotic tubulin, is the initiator of cell division as it localizes at sites of future septation forming a dynamic ring structure, the FtsZ-ring. FtsZ recruits an abundance of cell division proteins while simultaneously constricting, allowing for a proper binary fission event. In model organisms, the placement and stability of the Z-ring has been shown to be due to nucleoid occlusion and alterations in protein gradients such as the MinCD or MipZ systems. Alternatively, S. pneumoniae lacks nucleoid occlusion as well as homologs of FtsZ-localizing/stabilizing gradient proteins. Given the limited genome size and lack of homologous Z-ring localizers in comparison to other model organisms, the question of how the pneumococcus Z-ring is localized and stabilized has become of interest. Given the essentiality of the Z-ring in prokaryotic cell division, my research is composed of elucidating the temporal and spatial regulators of early Z-ring formation.

Select Presentations
Identification of the amino acid sequence of the mature PhrA signaling peptide of Streptococcus pneumoniae. Amilcar Perez, Sharon Hoover, and Beth Lazazzera
-- Emerging Researchers National Conference in STEM, February 28-March 2nd 2013 (Poster Presentation)
-- UCLA Science Poster Day, UCLA, April 15, 2013 (Poster Presentation)
-- SACNAS National Conference, Seattle WA, Saturday October 11-14th, 2012 (Poster Presentation)
Identification and characterization of bacterial diversity within the Arecaceae chamaedorea radicalis rhizosphere. Amilcar Perez, Michelle Cheng, Pouya Golbandi, Antony Gout, and Payam Benyamini.
-- MIMG and MCDB Undergraduate Research Poster Symposium, March 15, 2013 (Poster Presentation)

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