Menu UF Health Home Menu

Robert A. Burne, Ph.D.

Robert A. Burne, Ph.D.

Associate Dean for Research
Distinguished Professor and Chair

Department of Oral Biology
1395 Center Drive, D5-26
Box 100424
Gainesville, FL. 32610-0424
Phone: 352-273-8847

  • Ph.D., University of Rochester, Microbiology and Immunology, 1987
  • B.S., Pennsylvania State University, Microbiology, 1981

Main Interests

The primary interests in my laboratory are in the molecular mechanisms governing the ability of bacteria that are capable of causing diseases in humans to modulate their virulence in response to environmental influences. To accomplish this, a variety of microbiological, biochemical, and recombinant DNA technologies are employed. These include the use of continuous culture techniques to tightly control growth parameters of bacteria, coupled with the use of genetically-engineered bacteria and gene fusion technology, which allows for a detailed molecular analysis of gene expression in response to specific stimuli. These systems are also being utilized for identifying and characterizing signal transduction systems and cis– and trans– acting factors controlling bacterial virulence expression. In addition, there is a major commitment to studying bacterial biofilms grown in custom-fabricated bioreactors using gene fusion techniques and confocal laser microscopy. The specific projects in the lab are focused in four major areas. The first is a detailed study of the genetics and physiology of polysaccharide metabolism and its relationship to virulence and biofilm formation by oral streptococci. The second project is a molecular genetic analysis of the role of the stress regulon in control of gene expression. The third project is a broad-based approach to understanding the genetics and physiology of ureases and arginine metabolism by streptococci and actinomycetes. The final project utilizes a multi-species biofilm model system coupled with the use of genetically engineered bacteria to explore microbial ecology and the pathogenesis of polymicrobial infectious diseases.


  • Wen, Z. T., A. H. Nguyen, J. P. Bitoun, J. Abranches, H. V. Baker and R. A. Burne (2011) Transcriptome analysis of LuxS-deficient Streptocococc mutans grown in biofilms. Mol. Oral Microbiol. 26:2-18
  • Tong, H., L. Zeng and R. A. Burne (2011) The EIIABman permease regulates carbohydrate catabolite repression in Streptococcus gordonii. Appl. Environ. Microbiol.
  • Toro, E., M. M. Nascimento, E. Suarez-Perez, R. A. Burne, A. Elias-Boneta and E. Morou-Bermudez. (2010) The effect of sucrose on plaque and saliva urease levels in vivo. Arch. Oral. Biol. 55:249-254
  • Zeng, L., and R. A. Burne (2010) Seryl-phosphorylated HPr regulates CcpA-independent carbon catabolite repression in conjunction with PTS permeases in Streptococcus mutans. Mol. Microbiol. 75:1145-1158.
  • Zeng, L., S. Das and R. A. Burne (2010) Utilization of lactose and galactose by Streptococcus mutans: transport, toxicity and carbon catabolite repression. J. Bacteriol. 192:2434-2444.
  • Wen, Z. T., D. Yates, S-J. Ahn and R. A. Burne (2010) Biofilm formation and virulence expression by Streptococcus mutans are altered when grown in dual-species model. BMC Microbiology 10:111.
  • Ahn, S. J., K. C. Rice, J. Oleas, K. W. Bayles and R. A. Burne (2010) The Streptococcus mutans Cid and Lrg systems modulate virulence traits in response to multiple environmental signals. Microbiology 156:3136-3147.
  • Lemos, J. A., J. Abranches, H. Koo, R. E. Marquis and R. A. Burne (2010) Protocols to study the physiology of oral biofilms. Methods Mol. Biol. 666:87-102.
  • Seaton, K., S. J. Ahn, A. M. Sagstetter and R. A. Burne (2010) A transcriptional regulator and ABC transporters link stress tolerance (p)ppGpp and genetic competence. J. Bacteriol. 193:862-874
  • Griswold, A. R., M. M. Nascimento, and R. A. Burne (2009) Distrubution, regulation and role of the agmatine deiminase system in mutans streptococci. Oral Micro. Immunol. 24:79-82.
  • M. M. Nascimento, V.V. Gordan, C. W. Garvan, C. M. Browngardt, R. A. Burne (2009) Correlations of oral bacterial arginine and urea catabolism with caries experience. Oral Micro. Immunol. 24:89-95
  • Abranches, J. L. Zeng, M. BĂ©langer, P. H. Rodrigues, P. J. Simpson-Haidaris, D. Akin, W. A. Dunn Jr, A. Progulske-Fox, and R. A. Burne (2009) Invasion of human coronary artery endothelial cells by Streptococcus mutans OMZ175. Oral Microbiol. Immunol. 24:141-145.
  • Zeng, L., and R. A. Burne (2009) Transcriptional regulation of the cellobiose operon of Streptococcus mutans. J. Bacteriol. 191:2153-2162
  • Burne, R. A., S. J. Ahn, Z. T. Wen, L. Zeng, J. A. Lemos, J. Abranches and M. Nascimento. (2009) Opportunities for disrupting cariogenic biofilms. Adv. Dent. Res.
  • Ahn, S. J., S. J. Ahn and R. A. Burne (2009) Changes in biochemical and phenotypic properties of Streptococcus mutans growing with aeration. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 75(8):2517-27
  • Liu, Y, L. Zeng and R. A. Burne (2009) AguR is required for induction of the Streptococcus mutans agmatine deiminase system by low pH and agmatine. Appl. Environ. Microbiol.
  • Liu, Y., and R. A. Burne (2009) Multiple two-component systems modulate alkali generation in Streptococcus gordonii in response to environmental stresses. J. Bacteriol. 191:7353-7362.
  • Liu, Y., and R. A. Burne (2009) Multiple two-component systems of Streptococcus mutans regulate agmatine deiminase gene expression and stress tolerance. J. Bacteriol. 191:7363-7366.
  • Lemos, J. A., M. M. Nascimento, V. K. Lin, J. Abranches and R. A. Burne. (2008) Global regulation by (p)ppGpp and CodY in Streptococcus mutans. J. Bacteriol. 190:5291-5299
  • Liu, Y, Y. Dong, M. Chen and R. A. Burne (2008) Environmental and growth phase regulation of the arginine deiminase genes of Streptococcus gordonii. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 74:5023-5030.
  • Ahn, S. J., S. J. Ahn, Z. T. Wen, L. J. Brady and R. A. Burne (2008) Characteristics of biofilm formation by Streptococcus mutans in the presence of saliva. Infect. Immun. 76:4259-4268
  • Zeng, L., and R. A. Burne (2008) Multiple sugar:phosphotransferase system permeases participate in catabolite modification of gene expression in Streptococcus mutans. Mol. Microbiol. 70:197-208.
  • Lemos, J. A., and R. A. Burne (2008) A model of efficiency: stress tolerance by Streptococcus mutans. Microbiology 154:3247-3255.
  • Abranches J, Nascimento MM, Zeng L, Browngardt CM, Wen ZT, Rivera MF, Burne RA. CcpA regulates central metabolism and virulence gene expression in Streptococcus mutans. J Bacteriol. 2008 Apr, 190(7):2340-9.
  • Chen YY, Feng CW, Chiu CF, Burne RA. cadDX operon of Streptococcus salivarius 57.I. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2008 Mar, 74(5):1642-5.
  • Nascimento MM, Lemos JA, Abranches J, Lin VK, Burne RA. Role of RelA of Streptococcus mutans in global control of gene expression. J Bacteriol. 2008 Jan,190(1):28-36.
  • Ahn SJ, Wen ZT, Burne RA. Effects of oxygen on virulence traits of Streptococcus mutans. J Bacteriol. 2007 Dec, 189(23):8519-27.
  • Ahn SJ, Burne RA. Effects of oxygen on biofilm formation and the AtlA autolysin of Streptococcus mutans. J Bacteriol. 2007 Sep, 189(17):6293-302.
  • Lemos JA, Lin VK, Nascimento MM, Abranches J, Burne RA. Three gene products govern (p)ppGpp production by Streptococcus mutans. Mol Microbiol. 2007 Sep, 65(6):1568-81.
  • Loeffler KA, Johnson TA, Burne RA, Antonelli PJ. Biofilm formation in an in vitro model of cochlear implants with removable magnets. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2007 Apr, 136(4):583-8.
  • Johnson TA, Loeffler KA, Burne RA, Jolly CN, Antonelli PJ. Biofilm formation in cochlear implants with cochlear drug delivery channels in an in vitro model. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2007 Apr, 136(4):577-82.
  • Lemos JA, Luzardo Y, Burne RA. Physiologic effects of forced down-regulation of dnaK and groEL expression in Streptococcus mutans. J Bacteriol. 2007 Mar;189(5):1582-8.
  • Burne RA, Bessen DE, Broadbent JR, Claverys JP. The Seventh International Conference on the Genetics of Streptococci, Lactococci, and Enterococci. J Bacteriol. 2007 Feb;189(4):1209-18.
  • Ahn SJ, Burne RA. The atlA operon of Streptococcus mutans: role in autolysin maturation and cell surface biogenesis. J Bacteriol. 2006 Oct, 188(19):6877-88.
  • Zeng L, Wen ZT, Burne RA. A novel signal transduction system and feedback loop regulate fructan hydrolase gene expression in Streptococcus mutans. Mol Microbiol. 2006 Oct, 62(1):187-200.
  • Abranches J, Candella MM, Wen ZT, Baker HV, Burne RA. Different roles of EIIABMan and EIIGlc in regulation of energy metabolism, biofilm development, and competence in Streptococcus mutans. J Bacteriol. 2006 Jun, 188(11):3748-56.
  • Wen ZT, Baker HV, Burne RA. Influence of BrpA on critical virulence attributes of Streptococcus mutans. J Bacteriol. 2006 Apr, 188(8):2983-92.
  • Ahn SJ, Wen ZT, Burne RA. Multilevel control of competence development and stress tolerance in Streptococcus mutans UA159. Infect Immun. 2006 Mar, 74(3):1631-42.
  • Laport MS, Dos Santos LL, Lemos JA, do Carmo F Bastos M, Burne RA, Giambiagi-Demarval M. Organization of heat shock dnaK and groE operons of the nosocomial pathogen Enterococcus faecium. Res Microbiol. 2006 Mar, 157(2):162-8.
  • Koo H, Seils J, Abranches J, Burne RA, Bowen WH, Quivey RG Jr. Influence of apigenin on gtf gene expression in Streptococcus mutans UA159. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2006 Feb, 50(2):542-6.
  • Abranches J, Lemos JA, Burne RA. Osmotic stress responses of Streptococcus mutans UA159. FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2006 Feb, 255(2):240-6.
  • Zeng L, Dong Y, Burne RA. Characterization of cis-acting sites controlling arginine deiminase gene expression in Streptococcus gordonii. J Bacteriol. 2006 Feb, 188(3):941-9.
  • Griswold AR, Jameson-Lee M, Burne RA. Regulation and physiologic significance of the agmatine deiminase system of Streptococcus mutans UA159. J Bacteriol. 2006 Feb, 188(3):834-41.
  • Lemos, J.A., Brown T.A. Jr, Abranches J., & Burne, R.A. (2005). Characteristics of Streptococcus mutans strains lacking the MazEF and RelBE toxin-antitoxin modules. FEMS Microbiol Lett, 253(2), 251-257.
  • Brown, T. A. Jr, Ahn, S. J., Frank R. N., Chen Y. Y., Lemos J. A., & Burne R. A. (2005). A hypothetical protein of Streptococcus mutans is critical for biofilm formation. Infect Immun, 73(5), 3147-51.
  • Ahn, S.J., Lemos, J.A., & Burne, R.A. (2005). Role of HtrA in growth and competence of Streptococcus mutans UA159. J Bacteriol, 187(9), 3028-38.
  • Wen, Z.T., Suntharaligham, P., Cvitkovitch, D.G., & Burne, R.A. (2005). Trigger factor in Streptococcus mutans is involved in stress tolerance, competence development, and biofilm formation. Infect Immun, 73(1), 219-25.
  • Lemos, J.A., Abranches, J., & Burne, R.A. (2005). Responses of cariogenic streptococci to environmental stresses. Curr Issues Mol Biol, 7(1), 95-107.
  • Antonelli, P.J., Lee, J.C., & Burne, R.A. (2004). Bacterial biofilms may contribute to persistent cochlear implant infection. Otol Neurotol, 25(6), 953-7.
  • Browngardt, C.M., Wen, Z.T., & Burne, R.A. (2004). RegM is required for optimal fructosyltransferase and glucosyltransferase gene expression in Streptococcus mutans. FEMS Microbiol Lett, 240(1), 75-9.
  • Abranches, J., Chen, Y.Y., & Burne, R.A. (2004). Galactose metabolism by Streptococcus mutans. Appl Environ Microbiol, 70(10), 6047-52.
  • Nascimento, M.M., Lemos, J.A., Abranches, J., Goncalves, R.B., & Burne, R.A. (2004). Adaptive acid tolerance response of Streptococcus sobrinus. J Bacteriol, 186(19), 6383-90.
  • Laport, M.S., Lemos, J.A., Bastos, M.F., Burne, R.A., & de Marval, M.G. (2004). Transcriptional analysis of the groE and dnaK heat-shock operons of Enterococcus faecalis. Res Microbiol, 155(4), 252-8.
  • Wen, Z.T., & Burne, R.A. (2004). LuxS-mediated signaling in Streptococcus mutans is involved in regulation of acid and oxidative stress tolerance and biofilm formation. J Bacteriol, 186(9), 2682-91.
  • Dong, Y., Chen, Y.Y., & Burne, R.A. (2004). Control of expression of the arginine deiminase operon of Streptococcus gordonii by CcpA and Flp. J Bacteriol, 186(8), 2511-4.
  • Griswold, A., Chen, Y.Y., Snyder, J.A., & Burne, R.A. (2004). Characterization of the arginine deiminase operon of Streptococcus rattus FA-1. Appl Environ Microbiol, 70(3), 1321-7.
  • Griswold, A.R., Chen, Y.Y., & Burne, R.A. (2004). Analysis of an agmatine deiminase gene cluster in Streptococcus mutans UA159. J Bacteriol, 186(6), 1902-4.
  • Lemos, J.A., Brown, T.A. Jr, & Burne, R.A. (2004). Effects of RelA on key virulence properties of planktonic and biofilm populations of Streptococcus mutans. Infect Immun, 72(3), 1431-40.

Tagged as: