RNA & Infection

Ana Eulálio

PhD, Group Leader

The overall goal of the research of my group is to understand the role of the non-coding genome (specifically, microRNAs and lncRNAs) and other RNA related pathways in the interaction between host cells and bacterial pathogens.

Bacterial infections are characterized by a complex interplay between pathogens and host cells, leading to alterations of multiple host cell functions. However, the impact of bacterial infection on host RNA metabolism, including non-coding RNA expression and function, as well as the reciprocal impact of host RNA metabolism in the life cycle of bacterial pathogens remain largely unexplored. A proper RNA metabolism is essential to a number host cell functions and therefore it is not surprising that it contributes to a proper defense against infection, and that, on the other hand, pathogens have evolved sophisticated mechanisms to subvert these pathways to their own benefit. The knowledge acquired on novel factors/pathways essential for bacteria-host interaction may potentially reveal novel targets for therapeutic intervention and thus lead to the development of novel antimicrobial therapies.

Infectious diseases caused by bacterial pathogens are a major cause of mortality and morbidity worldwide, and are often linked with a decrease in the quality of life of an ageing population. Therefore, our research is in line with the mission of the CIBB focused on ageing related diseases.

Ana Eulalio was group leader for 5 years at the Institute for Molecular Infection Biology (Wuerzburg, Germany), and has recently moved to Portugal to establish a new research group at CNC. The PI has strong expertise on microRNA function and host-pathogen interactions, demonstrated by publications in leading journals, such as Nature, EMBO Journal, Nature Communications and PLOS Pathogens.

Group Members

Group members are: Ana Eulalio (PhD, Group Leader), Caio Franco (PhD), Inês Lopes, Jane Santos, Laura Alcântara (PhD), Susana Costa.

Selected Publications

Aguilar, C., Cruz, A. R., Rodrigues Lopes, I., Maudet, C., Sunkavalli, U., Silva, R. J., ... Eulalio, A. (2020). Functional screenings reveal different requirements for host microRNAs in Salmonella and Shigella infection. Nat Microbiol, 5(1), 192-205. doi:10.1038/s41564-019-0614-3.

Aguilar, C., Mano, M., & Eulalio, A. (2019). MicroRNAs at the Host-Bacteria Interface: Host Defense or Bacterial Offense. Trends Microbiol, 27(3), 206-218. doi:10.1016/j.tim.2018.10.011.

​Tawk, C., Nigro, G., Rodrigues Lopes, I., Aguilar, C., Lisowski, C., Mano, M., ... Eulalio, A. (2018). Stress-induced host membrane remodeling protects from infection by non-motile bacterial pathogens. EMBO J, 37(23). doi:10.15252/embj.201798529.

Sunkavalli, U., Aguilar, C., Silva, R. J., Sharan, M., Cruz, A. R., Tawk, C., ... Eulalio, A. (2017). Analysis of host microRNA function uncovers a role for miR-29b-2-5p in Shigella capture by filopodia. PLoS Pathog, 13(4), e1006327. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1006327.

Sharan, M., Forstner, K. U., Eulalio, A., & Vogel, J. (2017). APRICOT: an integrated computational pipeline for the sequence-based identification and characterization of RNA-binding proteins. Nucleic Acids Res, 45(11), e96. doi:10.1093/nar/gkx137.

Chowdhury, S. R., Reimer, A., Sharan, M., Kozjak-Pavlovic, V., Eulalio, A., Prusty, B. K., ... Rudel, T. (2017). Chlamydia preserves the mitochondrial network necessary for replication via microRNA-dependent inhibition of fission. J Cell Biol, 216(4), 1071-1089. doi:10.1083/jcb.201608063.

Maudet, C., Mano, M., Sunkavalli, U., Sharan, M., Giacca, M., Forstner, K. U., & Eulalio, A. (2014). Functional high-throughput screening identifies the miR-15 microRNA family as cellular restriction factors for Salmonella infection. Nat Commun, 5, 4718. doi:10.1038/ncomms5718.

Eulalio, A., Mano, M., Dal Ferro, M., Zentilin, L., Sinagra, G., Zacchigna, S., & Giacca, M. (2012). Functional screening identifies miRNAs inducing cardiac regeneration. Nature, 492(7429), 376-381. doi:10.1038/nature11739.

Schulte, L. N., Eulalio, A., Mollenkopf, H. J., Reinhardt, R., & Vogel, J. (2011). Analysis of the host microRNA response to Salmonella uncovers the control of major cytokines by the let-7 family. EMBO J, 30(10), 1977-1989. doi:10.1038/emboj.2011.94.

Eulalio, A., Huntzinger, E., & Izaurralde, E. (2008). GW182 interaction with Argonaute is essential for miRNA-mediated translational repression and mRNA decay. Nat Struct Mol Biol, 15(4), 346-353. doi:10.1038/nsmb.1405.

Selected Grants

Large-scale identification and functional characterization of host microRNAs regulating infection by bacterial pathogens. FCT - Fundação para Ciência e Tecnologia (2018-2021). PI: Ana Eulálio.

Deciphering bacterial and cellular factors involved in host cell invasion by clinically relevant Staphylococcus aureus strains to define new therapeutic approaches.

StaphIN – Intracellular Staphylococcus aureus: deciphering bacterial and cellular factors involved in host cell invasion by clinically relevant strains to define new therapeutic approaches, ERA-NET Infect-ERA Consortium (2016-2019). PI: A Eulalio.

CampyRNA – Combining high-throughput and single-cell analyses to study RNA regulators important for the early steps of Campylobacter infection, ERA-NET Infect-ERA Consortium (2015-2018). PI: A Eulalio.

Functional and molecular characterization of host cell microRNAs controlling Salmonella infection, German Research Foundation (DFG), Germany (2015-2018). PI: A Eulalio.

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