Dr. Krukonis's research focuses on the mechanisms and regulation of virulence of two bacterial pathogens, Vibrio cholerae and Yersinia pestis. V. cholerae, the causative agent of cholerae, utilizes two membrane-bound transcription factors, ToxR and TcpP, to initiate virulence gene expression. Their laboratory studies how these two proteins functionally interact to initiate transcription at the toxT promoter. They also study adhesins of Y. pestis, the causative agent of plague, in order to identify proteins required for colonization and virulence. A long-term goal is to identify vaccine candidate molecules for plague immunization.