Dr. Martin Schuster, Associate Professor

schuster Office 422 Nash Hall
Phone 541-737-3496
FAX 541-737-0496
Email martin.schuster@oregonstate.edu
Ph.D. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill                                                                                     

Research Interests:  Mechanism and evolution of bacterial communication; regulatory networks in Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Courses Taught MB 430/530 Bacterial Pathogenesis; MB 555 Biology of the Prokaryotes



Bacteria talk – and we’re listening in.  The Schuster lab at OSU is interested in the mechanisms and evolution of bacterial communication and cooperation.  Cell-cell communication, also termed quorum sensing (QS) is ubiquitous in the bacterial world and often controls other cooperative processes such as biofilm formation, nutrient acquisition, and virulence. The opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa serves as our model system.  This organism regulates numerous secreted products, including many virulence factors, by QS.  We are trying to understand the QS pathway, its integration into cellular physiology, and its role in ecology and disease.  We are also employing QS and other cooperative behaviors in P. aeruginosa as a template to learn about the evolution of cooperation in general. 

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Our research over the last decade, funded in part by the National Science Foundation, has helped establish P. aeruginosa QS as a global regulatory network, has provided insight into the function of the central QS regulator LasR, has revealed the role of nutrient starvation in the co-regulation of QS gene expression, has demonstrated that QS is a cooperative behavior subject to social conflict, has identified mechanisms that stabilize QS in the face of cheating, and has provided conceptual insight into the role of cheating in the evolution of resistance to novel antivirulence drugs.  We employ a variety of classical and contemporary approaches, ranging from genetics and biochemistry to genomics and systems biology.  Our work contributes to the field of social evolution, to synthetic biology for the design of novel genetic response circuits, and to public health for the design of strategies that prevent infection and biofouling.



Pub Med

Schuster, M., Sexton, D.J. and Hense, B.A.  2017.  Why quorum sensing controls private goods.  Front Microbiol.  8:885.

Asfahl, K.L. and Schuster, M.  (2016).  Social interactions in bacterial cell-cell signaling.  FEMS Microbiol. Rev. pii:  fuw038; PMID: 27677972.

Asfahl, K.L., Walsh, J., Gilbert, K., and Schuster, M. (2015). Non-social adaptation defers a tragedy of the commons in Pseudomonas aeruginosa quorum sensing.  ISME J. 9(8):1734-46.

Hense, B. and Schuster, M. (2015) Core principles of bacterial autoinducer systems. Microbiol. Mol. Biol. Rev., 79(1):153-69.

Mellbye, B.L., and Schuster, M. (2014) A physiological framework for the regulation of quorum-sensing dependent public goods in Pseudomonas aeruginosa.  J. Bacteriol. 196:1155-64.

Schuster, M., Sexton, J., Diggle, S., and Greenberg, E.P. (2013) Acyl-homoserine lactone quorum sensing:  From mechanism to evolution. Annu. Rev. Microbiol. 67:43-63.

Mellbye, B.L., and Schuster, M. (2011) The sociomicrobiology of antivirulence drug resistance: A proof of concept.  mBio 2: e00131-11.

Wilder, C., Allada, G., and Schuster, M. (2009) Instantaneous within-patient diversity of Pseudomonas aeruginosa quorum-sensing populations from cystic fibrosis lung infections. Infect. Immun. 77: 5631-5639

Gilbert, K., Kim, T. H., Gupta, R., Greenberg, E. P., and Schuster, M. (2009) Global position analysis of the Pseudomonas aeruginosa quorum-sensing transcription factor LasR. Mol. Microbiol. 73: 1072-1085

Sandoz, K.M., Mitzimberg, S.M., and Schuster, M. (2007) Social cheating in Pseudomonas aeruginosa quorum sensing. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 104: 15876-15881

Schuster, M., and Greenberg, E.P. (2006) A network of networks:  Quorum sensing gene regulation in Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Int. J. Med. Microbiol. 296: 73-81

Sonnleitner, E., Schuster, M., Sorger-Domenigg, T., Greenberg, E.P., and Blaesi, U. (2006) Hfq-dependent alterations of the transcriptome profile and effects on quorum sensing in Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Mol. Microbiol. 59: 1542-1558

Schuster, M., Urbanowski, M.L., and Greenberg, E.P. (2004) Promoter specificity in Pseudomonas aeruginosa quorum sensing revealed by DNA binding of purified LasR. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 101: 15833-15877

Schuster, M., Hawkins, A.C., Harwood, C.S., and Greenberg, E.P. (2004) The Pseudomonas aeruginosa RpoS regulon and its relationship to quorum sensing. Mol. Microbiol. 51: 973-985

Schuster, M., Lostroh, C.P., Ogi, T., and Greenberg, E.P. (2003) Identification, timing, and signal specificity of Pseudomonas aeruginosa quorum-controlled genes: a transcriptome analysis. J. Bacteriol.185: 2066-2079

Schuster, M., Silversmith, R.E., and Bourret, R.B. (2001) Conformational coupling in the chemotaxis response regulator CheY. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 98: 6003-6008