Department of Veterinary Pathobiology

Guoquan Zhang
Associate Professor

  • DVM, Veterinary Medicine, Inner Mongolia Agricultural University, Huhehot, China
  • M.S., Virology, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing, China
  • Ph.D., Microbiology & Immunology, University of Gifu, Gifu, Japan

Building Address: 310 Connaway Hall
Phone Number: 573-882-0544
Email: zhangguo@missouri.edu

Research Emphasis: Dr. Zhang’s research focuses on understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms of protective immunity against aerosolized intracellular bacterial pathogens and developing novel approaches for discovery of safe, effective vaccines and immunotherapeutic strategies against aerosol-transmitted intracellular bacterial pathogens. To accomplish these broad goals, current projects in the lab are designed to understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms of vaccine-induced protective immunity against Coxiella burnetii infection and to identify the key protective antigens that can be used to develop a safe and effective vaccine against human C. burnetii infection. C. burnetii is an obligate gram-negative intracellular bacterium that causes acute Q fever and chronic diseases in humans. It is an understudied category B select agent that can be transmitted via aerosol. Creation of a safe and effective vaccine to prevent Q fever remains an important public health and national biosecurity goal. However, the mechanisms of protective immunity against C. burnetii infection are not well understood as the key protective antigens have not been identified. Therefore, to understand the immunological basis of host defense and to identify the key protective antigens are critical for developing a safe and effective new generation vaccine. Current studies include three NIH funded or pending projects:

1. Determine the role of antibody -mediated immunity to lipopolysaccharide in protection against pulmonary infection with aerosolized C. burnetii. It is commonly believed that antibodies play minor or no role in protective immunity to infections caused by intracellular microbial pathogens, while cell-mediated immunity is the principal mechanism of host defense. However, several studies have demonstrated that antibodies can mediate resistance to a variety of intracellular bacterial and fungal pathogens. Interestingly, our recent studies suggest that humoral immunity has a critical role in vaccine-induced protective immunity. Our current study focuses on identifying antigens targeted by protective antibody (Ab) and understanding the mechanisms of Ab-mediated protective immunity against aerosolized C. burnetii.

2. Develop an O antigen-based vaccine against Q fever. Current paradigms suggest that cellular immunity is the primary protective mechanism against intracellular pathogens, and that proteins comprise the majority of defined target antigens of protective humoral or cellular immune responses. However, our recent work demonstrated that Ab-mediated immunity to lipopolysaccharide is protective against challenge of mice with C. burnetti. The major goals of this project are to i) understand the role of Ab-mediated immunity in developing protective immunity against an intracellular bacterial pathogen; ii) determine whether O antigen of C. burnetii is the key antigen for developing protective immunity against C. burnetii infections; and iii) prove the concept that peptide mimics of C. burnetii O antigen can confer protective immunity against Q fever.

3 Determine the role of dendritic cells in regulating T cell-mediated immunity against C. burnetii aerosol infection. There is a fundamental gap in knowledge regarding the mechanisms of innate and adaptive immunity against C. burnetii infection. To understand the immunological basis of host defense against aerosolized C. burnetii would provide critical information for designing rational vaccines against Q fever. Dendritic cells (DCs) are the most potent antigen presenting cells and can regulate the type and quality of immune responses against microbial pathogens. However, the role of DCs in promoting protective immunity against C. burnetii infection is poorly understood. The major goals of this project are to determine the role of DCs in regulating T cell-mediated immunity against C. burnetii infection and to determine the role of T cells in vaccine-induced protection against C. burnetii infection.

 

Teaching:
VPB-5511, Veterinary Immunology
VPB-5553, Pathogenic Bacteriology and Mycology
MMI-9001, Infection and Immunity

Selected Publications:

  1. Laura Schoenlaub, Alexandra Elliott, Danielle Freches, William J. Mitchell, and GQ. Zhang. The role of B cells in the host defense against primary Coxiella burnetii infection. 2015. Infect Immun. 83:4826-4836.
  2. Alexandra Elliott, Laura Schoenlaub, William Mitchell, and GQ. Zhang*.Neutrophils play an important role in protective immunity against Coxiella burnetii infection. 2015. Infect. Immun. 83:3104-3113.
  3. Ying Peng, Laura Schoenlaub, Alexandra Elliott, William J Mitchell and GQ Zhang*. Characterization of a lipopolysaccharide targeted monoclonal antibody and its variable fragments as candidates for prophylaxis against the obligate intracellular bacterial pathogen Coxiella burnetii. 2014. Infect. Immun. 82: 4530-4541.
  4. Alexandra Elliott, Ying Peng and GQ. Zhang*. Coxiella burnetii Interaction with Neutrophils and Macrophages in vitro and in SCID Mice Following Aerosol Infection. 2013. Infect Immun. 81: 6404-6414.
  5. Zhang GQ*, Ying Peng, Laura Schoenlaub, Alexandra Elliott, Jefferson Mitchell, and Yan Zhang. Formalin Inactivated Coxiella burnetii Phase I Vaccine-Induced Protection Depends on B Cells Produce Protective IgM and IgG. Infect Immun. 2013. 81: 2112-2122.
  6. Ying Peng, Yan Zhang, William J. Mitchell and GQ. Zhang*. Development of a lipopolysaccharide targeted peptide mimic vaccine against Q fever. 2012. J. Immunol. 10.4049. 1201622.
  7. Zhang GQ*, Zhang Y, Samuel JE. 2012. Components of protective immunity. Adv Exp Med Biol. 984:91-104.
  8. Zhang GQ*, Y. Zhang and J. Samuel. Chapter 5, Components of Protective Immunity. In Eds. R. Toman, R. Heinzen, J. Mege, and J. Samuel. Coxiella burnetii: Recent Advances and New Perspectives in Research of the Q Fever Bacterium. Springer. 2012.
  9. Y. Zhang, GQ Zhang *, Laura R. Hendrix and James E. SamuelCoxiella burnetii Phase II Induces a Low Level of Apoptosis in an Early Stage of Infection via a Caspase-independent Pathway in Human THP-1 Cells. Plos one. 2012:7 (1), e30841.
  10. G. Q Zhang, K. E. Russell-Lodrigue, M. Andoh, Y. Zhang, L. R. Hendrix and J. E. Samuel. Mechanisms of vaccine-induced protective immunity against Coxiella burnetii infection in BALB/c mice. J. Immunol. 2007. 179:8372-8380.

Recent List of Published Work

 

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