Research | Publications | Lab Members | Biosketch (PDF format)
Joel B. Baseman, Ph.D.
Microbiology, Immunology & Molecular Genetics
Surgery / Medicine
University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio
292.6 - STRF
Tel: (210) 562-4190
Fax: (210) 562-4191Email:
Keywords: Mycoplasma pneumoniae (MPN); Community Acquired Respiratory Distress Syndrome (CARDS)
We study the biology of the atypical pathogenic bacterium, Mycoplasma pneumoniae (MPN), and have related these studies to acute and chronic respiratory diseases in humans and animal models. Our recent discovery of the Community Acquired Respiratory Distress Syndrome (CARDS) toxin of MPN represents the first authentic toxin and virulence determinant found in MPN, as the toxin behaves as a bonafide ADP-ribosylating toxin (like the classical ADP-ribosylating toxins of pertussis and diphtheria) and vacuolating toxin (like VacA of Helicobacter pylori). CARDS TX is a remarkable, one-of-a-kind protein; no other toxin or virulence factor exhibits both ADP ribosylation and vacuolating activities, possesses allergenic properties, and elicits such a distinctive host response, including unique inflammatory pathways and tissue injury. Based upon our clinical and animal model studies and in vitro observations, we have compelling evidence that CARDS TX represents a single molecule tightly responsible for mediating a range of airway diseases, including asthma.
We also examine the sexually transmitted mycoplasma, Mycoplasma genitalium (MGN), and are clarifying MGN virulence determinants that mediate the dynamic interactions between MGN and human target cells, leading to overt clinical disease. Recently, we described the remarkable ability of MGN to exhibit perinuclear and intranuclear localization, suggesting that this pathogen circumvents host defenses and navigates through mammalian cell structures in order to establish and maintain viability and persistence. Recently, we examined the impact of MGN in Chlamydia co-infection models and have observed an exaggerated inflammatory and pathologic host response contributed to MGN.
Currently, I am Director of the NIH-funded SA-AADCRC (San Antonio-Asthma and Allergic Diseases Cooperative Research Center) and have considerable experience as Director of past CRCs and Program Projects and as PI of R01s and T32s and Foundation grants. I held the position of Chair of UTHSCSA Department of Microbiology and Immunology for 33 years and other positions, such as Associate Dean for Research for the UTHSCSA Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Director/Teacher of the Ethics in Research Course at UTHSCSA. I have had the opportunity and pleasure to mentor many predoctoral and postdoctoral fellows and collaborate extensively with basic science and clinical investigators.
Complete List of Publications