About Dr. Alexander M. Cole

Studies host defense of human mucosal surfaces, with particular emphasis on Staphylococcus aureus nasal carriage, and HIV transmission and pathogenesis.

For the past two decades, Dr. Cole has been investigating an increasingly important aspect of the human immune system called “innate host defense”, which is involved in the body’s immediate response to germs such as viruses and bacteria. The main pathogenic virus that he studies is HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), which can cause the disease AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). Worldwide, the majority of new HIV infections are in women who contracted the virus through sexual contact, which has prompted Dr. Cole to study women’s health aspects that lead to HIV transmission. Additionally, his lab is interested in developing prophylactic drugs called “microbicides” that can prevent or limit sexually transmitted HIV. A new microbicide that his lab has developed is currently being tested to confirm that it is safe and effective against HIV.

Dr. Cole also studies how the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus, or “Staph”, can colonize the inside of human noses and be transmitted to other people. While Staph is essentially harmless to a person’s nose, that nose serves as a major reservoir for transmitting Staph and causing serious disease. Since this bacterium alone accounts for more deaths in the U.S. than HIV/AIDS, and many Staph are resistant to the majority of available antibiotics, it is evermore important to understand how humans can harbor this bacterium in their noses and to develop new drugs to kill Staph. Both of these aspects are being actively pursued in Dr. Cole’s laboratory.

Recent Publications

  1. Sivaraman, K., A.M. Cole. (2009). Pathogenesis gene families in the common minimal genome of Staphylococcus aureus are hypervariable. FEBS Letters. 583(8): 1304-8. (PMCID: PMC2677416)
  2. Martellini, J.A., A.L. Cole, N. Venkataraman, G.A. Quinn, P. Svoboda, B.K. Gangrade, J. Pohl, O.E. Sørensen, and A.M. Cole. (2009). Cationic polypeptides are major anti-HIV-1 factors in human seminal plasma. FASEB J. 23(10): 3609-18. NIHMS# 219133
  3. Quinn, G.A., P.M. Tarwater, and A.M. Cole. (2009). Subversion of IL-1-mediated host defense by a nasal carrier strain of Staphylococcus aureus. Immunology. 128: e222-229. (PMCID:  PMC2753939)
  4. Venkataraman, N., A.L. Cole, P. Ruchula, A.J. Waring, R.I. Lehrer, O. Stuchlik, J. Pohl, and A.M. Cole. (2009). Reawakening retrocyclins:  ancestral human theta-defensins with activity against HIV-1. PLoS Biology. 7(4): e95. (PMCID: PMC2672613). (received Editor’s pick, and was selected for a commissioned synopsis)
  5. Cole, A.M., D.L. Patton, L.C. Rohan, A.L. Cole, Y. Cosgrove-Sweeney, N.A. Rogers, D. Ratner, A. Sassi, P. Tarwater, B. Ramratnam, P. Ruchala, R.I. Lehrer, A.J. Waring, and P. Gupta. (2010). The formulated microbicide RC-101 was safe and antivirally active following intravaginal application in pigtailed macaques. PLoS ONE. 5(11): e15111. (PMCID: PMC2993972)
  6. Micewicz E.D., A.L. Cole, C.L. Jung, H. Luong, M.L. Phillips, P. Pratikhya, S. Sharma, A.J. Waring, A.M. Cole, and P. Ruchala. (2010). Grifonin-1: a small HIV-1 entry inhibitor derived from the algal lectin, Griffithsin. PLoS ONE. 5(12): e14360. (PMCID: PMC3002932)
  7. Lamers, R.P., J.W. Stinnett, G. Muthukrishnan, C.L. Parkinson, and A.M. Cole. (2011). Evolutionary analyses of Staphylococcus aureus reveal that human nares harbor strains responsible for community- and hospital-acquired infections. PLoS ONE 6(1): e16426. (PMCID: PMC3025037)
  8. Martellini, J.A., A.L. Cole, P. Svoboda, O. Stuchlik, L.M. Chen, K.X. Chai, B.K. Gangrade, O.E. Sørensen, J. Pohl, and A.M. Cole. (2011). HIV-1 enhancing effect of prostatic acid phosphatase peptides is reduced in human seminal plasma. PLoS ONE. 6(1): e16285. (PMCID: PMC3024420)
  9. Sassi, A.B., M.R. Cost, A.L. Cole, A.M. Cole, D.L. Patton, P. Gupta and L.C. Rohan. (2011). Formulation development of Retrocyclin-1 (RC-101) as an anti-HIV vaginal microbicide product. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 55(5): 2282-9. (PMCID: PMC3088226)
  10. Muthukrishnan, G., G.A. Quinn, R.P. Lamers, C. Diaz, A.L. Cole, S. Chen, and A.M. Cole. (2011). Exoproteome of Staphylococcus aureus reveals putative determinants of nasal carriage. J Proteome Res. 10(4): 2064-78. (PMCID:  PMC3070068)
  11. Sassi, A.B., K.E. Bunge, B.L. Hood, T.P. Conrads, A.M. Cole, P. Gupta, and L.C. Rohan. (2011). Preformulation and stability in biological fluids of the retrocyclin RC-101, a potential anti-HIV topical microbicide. AIDS Res Ther. 8(27): (Epub ahead of print). (PMCID: PMC3199744)
  12. Lamers, R.P., C.R. Eade, A.J. Waring, A.L. Cole, and A.M. Cole. (2011). Characterization of the retrocyclin analogue RC-101 as a preventative of Staphylococcus aureus nasal colonization. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 55(11): 5338-46. (PMCID: PMC3195007)
  13. Ruchala, P., S. Cho, A.L. Cole, C. Carpenter, C.L. Jung, H. Luong, E.D. Micewicz, A.J. Waring, A.M. Cole, B.C. Herold, and R.I. Lehrer. (2011). Simplified theta-defensins: search for new antivirals. Int J Pept Res Ther. 17(4): 325-336.
  14. Li, M., D.L. Patton, Y. Cosgrove-Sweeney, D. Ratner, L.C. Rohan, A.M. Cole, P. Tarwater, P. Gupta, and B. Ramratnam. (2011). Incorporation of the HIV-1 microbicide cyanovirin-N in a food product. J AIDS. 58(4): 379-384. (PMCID: PMC3440868)
  15. Levinson, P., R.Y. Choi, A.L. Cole, T. Hirbod, S. Rhedin, B. Payne, B. Guthrie, R. Bosire, A.M. Cole, C. Farquhar, and K. Broliden. (2012). HIV-neutralizing activity of cationic polypeptides in cervicovaginal secretions of women in HIV-serodiscordant relationships. PLoS ONE. 7(2): e31996. (PMCID: PMC3289637)
  16. A.M.L. Edström, V. Rydengard, P. Fernlund, M. Morgelin, M. Baungarten, A.M. Cole, M. Malmsten, B.B. Karglund, O.E. Sørensen. (2012). beta-microseminoprotein endows seminal plasma with potent calcium-dependent candidacidal activity at vaginal pH. PLoS Pathogens. 8(4): e1002625. (PMCID: PMC3320615)
  17. Gupta, P., D. Ratner, M. Ding, B. Patterson, L.C. Rohan, T. Reinhart, V. Ayyavoo, X. Huang, D.L. Patton, B. Ramratnam, and A.M. Cole. (2012). Retrocyclin RC-101 blocks HIV-1 transmission across cervical mucosa in an organ culture. J AIDS. 60(5):455-461. (PMCID: PMC3404240)
  18. Gupta, P., C. Lackman-Smith, D. Ratner, L.C. Rohan, D.L. Patton, B. Ramratnam, and A.M. Cole. (2012). Antiviral activity of retrocyclin RC-101, a candidate microbicide against cell-associated HIV-1. AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 29(2): 391-6. (PMCID: PMC3552163)
  19. Lamers, R.P., G. Muthukrishnan, T. A. Castoe, S. Tafur, A.M. Cole*, and C.L. Parkinson*. (2012). Phylogenetic relationships among Staphylococcus species and refinement of cluster groups based on multilocus data. BMC Evol Biol. 12: 171. (PMCID: PMC3464590) *Equal correspondence/authorship.  Designated “Highly accessed” article by BMC.
  20. Eade, C.R., C. Diaz, M.P. Wood, K. Anastos, B.K. Patterson, P. Gupta, A.L. Cole, and A.M. Cole. (2012). Identification and Characterization of Bacterial Vaginosis-Associated Pathogens Using a Comprehensive Cervical-Vaginal Epithelial Coculture Assay. PLoS ONE. 7(11): e50106. (PMCID: PMC3499514)
  21. Eade, C.R., A.L. Cole, C. Diaz, L.C. Rohan, M.A. Parniak, P. Marx, P.M. Tarwater, P. Gupta, and A.M. Cole. (2013). The Anti-HIV Microbicide Candidate RC-101 Inhibits Pathogenic Vaginal Bacteria Without Harming Endogenous Flora or Mucosa. Am J Reprod Immunol. 69(2):150-8. (PMCID: PMC3541468)
  22. Wood, M.P., A.L. Cole, P. Ruchala, A.J. Waring, L.C. Rohan, P. Marx, P.M. Tarwater, P. Gupta, and A.M. Cole. (2013). A Compensatory Mutation Provides Resistance to Disparate HIV Fusion Inhibitor Peptides and Enhances Membrane Fusion. PLoS ONE. 8(2):e55478.  (PMCID: PMC3564752)
  23. Muthukrishnan, G., R.P. Lamers, A. Ellis, V. Paramanandam, A.B. Persaud, S. Tafur, C.L. Parkinson, and A.M. Cole. (2013). Longitudinal genetic analyses of Staphylococcus aureus nasal carriage dynamics in a diverse population. BMC Infect Dis. 16(13): 221. (PMCID: PMC3673815)
  24. Wood, M.P., A.L. Cole, C.R. Eade, L.M. Chen, K.X. Chai, and A.M. Cole. (2014). The HIV-1 gp41 ectodomain is cleaved by matriptase to produce a chemotactic peptide that acts through FPR2. Immunology. (in press)

Recent Reviews/Book Chapters

  1. Sivaraman, K., N. Venkataraman, and A.M. Cole. (2009). Staphylococcus aureus nasal carriage and its contributing factors. Future Microbiol. 4: 999-1008. (PMCID: PMC2908500).
  2. Penberthy, W.T., S. Chari, A.L. Cole, and A.M. Cole. (2011). Retrocyclins and their activity against HIV-1. in:  Host-defense peptides: from biology to therapeutic strategies. Editor:  M. Luisa Mangoni. Cell Mol Life Sci. 68(13): 2231-42.
  3. Eade, C.R., M.P. Wood, A.M. Cole. (2012). Mechanisms and modifications of naturally occurring host defense peptides for anti-HIV microbicide development. Curr HIV Res. 10(1): 61-72.
  4. Lehrer, R.I., A.M. Cole, and M.E. Selsted. (2012). Theta Defensins: cyclic peptides with endless potential. J Biol Chem. 287(32):27014-9. (PMCID: PMC3411038)

For more publication information, please visit Pubmed.