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Stephen ArnoffBettina Buttaro, PhD


Associate Professor, Microbiology and Immunology

Telephone:  215-707-3212

Fax:  215-707-7788

Email: bettina.buttaro@temple.edu


Department of Microbiology and Immunology


Educational Background:


University of Minnesota, PhD


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Research Interests:


The research in Dr. Buttaro's laboratory focuses on streptococcal physiology. The first project examines plasmid maintenance in Enterococcus faecalis. E. faecalis is a member of the intestinal tract normal flora and is also an opportunistic pathogen that can be resistant to all known antibiotics. This antibiotic resistance is mediated by plasmids and transposons which are highly stable in the absence of antibiotic selection. Thus, Enterococci represent a significant reservoir of antibiotic resistance genes. We have discovered that some of the plasmids encoding resistance may be maintained by a peptide signal related to peptide signaling used for the induction of plasmid transfer by conjugation. This is the first description of a peptide signaling system needed for plasmid maintenance, hence representing a unique system in plasmid biology. Further definition of this peptide maintenance system may lead to an understanding of why Enterococcal plasmids are so stably maintained in the intestinal tract.


Our second project focuses on the persistence of Streptococcus pyogenes in the human host. Humans are the only known host for S. pyogenes and there is evidence that some patients can be asymptomatically colonized. Using an in vitro model, we described the formation of alternate phenotypes of S. pyogenes during persistence in batch cultures. A further characterization of the physiology of these phenotypes and a screening for their presence in eukaryotic cell co-cultures and patient samples will lead to a better understanding of the persistence of S. pyogenes in the human host. These studies may have implications in the development of vaccine targets and the treatment of post-streptococcal sequelae such as rheumatic fever and glumeronephritis. Dr. Buttaro also has collaborative studies with Dr. Patrick Piggot (survival of S. mutans in biofilms), Dr. Glenn Isaacson (post-operative Otorrhea), and Dr. Douglas Markham (SAM synthetase in S. pyogenes).


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SELECTED Publications:


Podbielski, A., Leonard, B.A.B. The group A streptococcal dipeptide permease (Dpp) is involved in uptake of essential amino acids and affects expression of cysteine protease. Mol. Microbiol. 23:1323-1334, 1998.


Leonard, B.A.B., Woischnik, M., Podbielski, A. The production of stabilized virulence factor negative variants by Group A Streptococci during stationary phase. Infect. Immun. 66:3841-3847, 1998.


Leonard, B.A.B., Podbielski, A. Emerging density dependent control systems in Gram-positive cocci. In Cell-Cell Communication in Bacteria. Dunny, G.M., Winans, S., eds. ASM Press, Washington, DC, pp. 315-329, 1999.


Podbielski, A., Woischnik, M., Leonard, B.A.B., Schmidt, K.-H. Characterization of nra, a global negative regulator gene in group A streptococci. Mol. Microbiol. 31:1051-1064, 1999.


Podbielski, A., Woischnik, M., Bettenbrock, K., (Leonard) Buttaro, B.A. Cysteine protease SpeB expression in group A streptococci is influenced by the nutritional environment but SpeB does not contribute to obtaining essential nutrients. Med. Microbiol. Immunol. (Berl.) 188:99-109, 1999.


Woischnik, M., Buttaro, B.A. (Leonard), Podbielski, A. Inactivation of the cysteine protease SpeB affects hyaluronic acid capsule expression in group A streptococci. Microb. Pathog. 28:221-226, 2000.


Buttaro, B.A. (Leonard), Dunny, G.M., Antiporta, M. Cell-associated pheromone peptide (cCF10) production and pheromone inhibition in Enterococcus faecalis. J. Bacteriol. 182:4926, 2000.


Kreikemeyer, B., Boyle, M.D.P., Buttaro, B.A. (Leonard), Heinemann, M., Podbielski, A. Molecular characterization of the group A streptococcal fas regulon exhibiting functional similarities to the Staphylococcus aureus agr operon. Mol. Microbiol. 39:392-406, 2001.


Elsner, A., Kreikemeyer, B., Braun-Kiewnick, A., Spellerberg, B., Buttaro, B.A., Podbielski, A. Involvement of Lsp, a member of the LraI-lipoprotein family in Streptococcus pyogenes, in eukaryotic cell adhesion and internalization. Infect. Immun. 70:4859-4869, 2002.


Renye, J., Daneo-Moore, L, Piggot, P., Buttaro, B. A. Starvation survival of Streptococcus mutans in batch culture and biofilms.  Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 70:6181-6187, 2004.


Wood, D. , Chaussee,  M. A., Chaussee,  M. S., Buttaro, B. A.. Persistence of Streptococcus pyogenes in stationary phase cultures.  J. Bacteriol. 187:3319-28, 2005.


Isaacson, G. C., Buttaro, B. A., Mazeffa, V., Geming, L., Frenz, D.  Oxymetazoline solutions inhibit middle ear pathogens and are not ototoxic. Ann. Otol. Rhinol. Laryngol. 114:645-651, 2005.


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Recent Medically Related Publications, Obtained from PubMed (Click on PubMed ID to view abstract)

26084027. Gallo PM, Rapsinski GJ, Wilson RP, Oppong GO, Sriram U, Goulian M, Buttaro B, Caricchio R, Gallucci S, TŁkel «, Amyloid-DNA Composites of Bacterial Biofilms Stimulate Autoimmunity. Immunity 42:6(1171-84)2015 Jun 16

24261873. Mothey D, Buttaro BA, Piggot PJ, Mucin can enhance growth, biofilm formation, and survival of Streptococcus mutans. FEMS Microbiol Lett 350:2(161-7)2014 Jan

20962684. Waninger KN, Rooney TP, Miller JE, Berberian J, Fujimoto A, Buttaro BA, Community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus survival on artificial turf substrates. Med Sci Sports Exerc 43:5(779-84)2011 May

20581205. Busuioc M, Buttaro BA, Piggot PJ, The pdh operon is expressed in a subpopulation of stationary-phase bacteria and is important for survival of sugar-starved Streptococcus mutans. J Bacteriol 192:17(4395-402)2010 Sep

19801415. Busuioc M, Mackiewicz K, Buttaro BA, Piggot PJ, Role of intracellular polysaccharide in persistence of Streptococcus mutans. J Bacteriol 191:23(7315-22)2009 Dec

19666718. Wood DN, Weinstein KE, Podbielski A, Kreikemeyer B, Gaughan JP, Valentine S, Buttaro BA, Generation of metabolically diverse strains of Streptococcus pyogenes during survival in stationary phase. J Bacteriol 191:20(6242-52)2009 Oct

19504601. Solomon DH, Wobb J, Buttaro BA, Truant A, Soliman AM, Characterization of bacterial biofilms on tracheostomy tubes. Laryngoscope 119:8(1633-8)2009 Aug

16190099. Isaacson G, Buttaro BA, Mazeffa V, Li G, Frenz DA, Oxymetazoline solutions inhibit middle ear pathogens and are not ototoxic. Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol 114:8(645-51)2005 Aug

15866916. Wood DN, Chaussee MA, Chaussee MS, Buttaro BA, Persistence of Streptococcus pyogenes in stationary-phase cultures. J Bacteriol 187:10(3319-28)2005 May

15466565. Renye JA Jr, Piggot PJ, Daneo-Moore L, Buttaro BA, Persistence of Streptococcus mutans in stationary-phase batch cultures and biofilms. Appl Environ Microbiol 70:10(6181-7)2004 Oct

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laboratory personnel :


Postdoctoral Fellow

Javier Izquierdo Sánchez, PhD

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graduate students :


Valorie Mazeffa

Shannon Morgan

Kate Weinstein

Certain Recent Graduates:

Mauro Meloni, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

University Orsay, France

John Renye, PhD

Scientist, USDA

Daniel Wood, PhD

MDS Pharma Services

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grant support :


Current or Recent Grant Support of Active Projects:


Bettina A. Buttaro, PhD as Principal Investigator:

National Institutes of Health, RO1 AI50725
Peptide Pheromones in Enterococcal Plasmid Maintenance

American Heart Association (Pennsylvania Affiliate), Beginning Grant-in-Aid
Post-exponential Survival of Streptococcus pyogenes

Bettina A. Buttaro, PhD as Co-Investigator:

National Institutes of Health, R01 DE014604, P. J. Piggot, PhD, Principal Investigator
Stationary Phase Behavior in Oral Streptococci


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