Dr. Caroline Cameron


Research of Dr. Caroline E. Cameron
PhD Victoria

1996 Ph.D., University of Victoria, Victoria, BC

1996-2006 University of Washington, Seattle, WA

Senior Postdoctoral Fellow
Research Assistant Professor
Research Associate Professor

2006-present University of Victoria, Victoria, BC

Associate Professor

The laboratory of Dr. Caroline Cameron focuses upon spirochetal bacteria, with a specific focus on Treponema pallidum and Leptospira. The overall objective of the research is to identify and characterize molecules that are central to the pathogenesis of these important human pathogens.

The first main project investigates the extremely invasive nature of T. pallidum. Within our laboratory we have discovered several adhesins that contribute to T. pallidum attachment and a protease that is central to dissemination within the host. We are currently developing methods to target these proteins, with the ultimate goal of developing a prophylactic intervention to prevent the establishment of chronic infection.


The second major project within the laboratory involves the identification of novel diagnostic antigens, and the translation of this research into an improved syphilis diagnostic test.

The third major project uses proteomic analyses to identify proteins from Leptospira sp. that are essential for infection with this important zoonotic pathogen. These studies have led to the identification of novel virulence factors that are anticipated to be key to the infection process. We also perform proteomic analyses of Treponema pallidum to identify potential surface-exposed proteins within this unculturable pathogen.

The long-term objective of the research performed within the laboratory is to expand our knowledge of spirochete pathogenesis, which will in turn allow for the development of novel therapeutic reagents and/or preventative measures to combat infection. Future research will investigate the role of identified virulence factors in the pathogenesis of T. pallidum and Leptospira.

Lab Personnel

Lab Manager
Rebecca Hof, BSc 

Research Staff
Bradley Bachmeier, BSc
Alloysius Gomez, BSc

Research Associate
Simon Houston, PhD

Graduate Students
Karen Lithgow, PhD candidate
Brigette Church, PhD candidate 

Honour’s Student
Nina Radisavljevic

Undergraduate Students
Celine Kehoe-Doehring
Darcy Sutherland
Anita Weng
Rachael Brown 

Selected Publications

1. Cameron, C.E., Lukehart, S.A., Castro, C., Molini, B., Godornes, C. and Van Voorhis, W.C. 2000. Opsonic potential, protective capacity and sequence conservation of the Treponema pallidum subsp. pallidum Tp92. J. Infect. Dis. 18, 1401-1413.

2. Cameron C.E., B.J. Molini, S.A. Lukehart, and W.C. Van Voorhis. 2001. GPD DNA immunization appears less efficacious than recombinant GPD as a syphilis vaccine. In: Sexually Transmitted Infections, ed. Kohl, P.K., Jodl, S.J. Monduzzi Editore, Bologna, Italy. Pp 307-311.

3. Cameron, C.E. 2003. Identification of a Treponema pallidum laminin-binding protein. Infect. Immun. 71, 2525-2533.

4. Van Voorhis, W.C., Barrett, L.K., Lukehart, S.A., Schmidt, B.L., Schriefer, M., and Cameron, C.E. 2003. Serodiagnosis of Syphilis: Antibodies to recombinant Tp0483, Tp92, and Gpd proteins are sensitive and specific indicators of Treponema pallidum infection. J. Clin. Micro.41:3668-3674.

5. Cameron, C.E., Brown, E.L., Kuroiwa, J.M.Y., Schnapp, L.M., and Brouwer, N.L. 2004. Treponema pallidum fibronectin-binding proteins. J. Bacteriol. 186:7019-7022.

6. Cameron, C.E., Brouwer, N.L., Tisch, L.M., and Kuroiwa, J.M.Y. 2005. Defining the interaction of the Treponema pallidum adhesin Tp0751 with laminin. Infect. Immun. 73:7485-7494.

7. Cameron, C.E. 2006. The T. pallidum outer membrane and outer membrane proteins. In: Pathogenic Treponema: Molecular and Cellular Biology, ed. Lukehart, S.A., Radolf, J.D. Horizon Scientific Press, Norfolk, UK.

8. Cullen, P.A. and Cameron, C.E. 2006. Progress toward an effective syphilis vaccine: the past, present, and future. Expert Review of Vaccines. 5:67-80.

9. Kuramitsu, H.K. and Cameron, C.E. 2006. Development of treponeme genetic systems.  In Molecular Biology of Spirochetes (F.C. Cabello, D. Hulinska, and H.P. Godfrey,eds). IOS Press, Washington, D.C.  pp. 71-76.

10. Cameron, C.E., Kuroiwa, J.M.Y., Yamada, M., Francescutti, T., Chi, B. and Kuramitsu, H.K. 2008. Heterologous expression of the Treponema pallidum laminin-binding adhesin Tp0751 in the non-pathogenic spirochete Treponema phagedenis. Journal of Bacteriology. 190:2565-2571.

11. Cameron, C.E., Zuerner, R.L., Raverty, S., Colegrove, K.M., Norman, S., Lambourn, D.M., Jeffries, S.J., and Gulland, F.M. 2008. Detection of Pathogenic Leptospira in Pinniped Populations via PCR Identifies a Source of Transmission for Zoonotic Leptospirosis in the Marine Environment. Journal of Clinical Microbiology. 46:1728-1733.

12. Zuerner, R.L., Cameron, C.E., Raverty, S., Robinson, J., Colegrove, K.M., Norman, S.A., Lambourn, D.M., Jeffries, S.J. and Gulland, F.M. 2009. Geographical dissemination of Leptospira interrogans serovar Pomona during seasonal migration of California sea lions. Veterinary Microbiology. 137:105-110.

13. Eshghi, A., L. Cowen, P.A. Cullen, R.L. Zuerner and C.E. Cameron. 2009. Global proteome analysis of Leptospira interrogans.  J. Proteome Res. 8, 4564-4578.

14. Bamford, C.V., T. Francescutti, C.E. Cameron, H.F. Jenkinson and D. Dymock. 2010. Characterisation of a novel family of fibronectin binding proteins with M23 peptidase domains from Treponema denticola. Mol. Oral Microbiol. 25:369-383.

15. Houston, S., R. Hof, T. Francescutti, A. Hawkes, M.J. Boulanger, and C.E. Cameron. 2011. Bifunctional role of the Treponema pallidum extracellular matrix binding adhesin Tp0751. Infect. Immun. 79:1386-1398.

16. Desrosiers, D.C., S. Dunham-Ems, A. Luthra, M. LeDoyt, M.A.D. Cummings, A. Eshghi, C.E. Cameron, A.R. Cruz, J.C Salazar, M.J. Caimano, and J.D. Radolf. 2011. TP0326, a β-Barrel Assembly Machinery A (BamA) Ortholog and Treponema pallidum rare outer membrane protein. Mol. Micro. 80:1496-1515.

17. Eshghi, A., M. Pinne, D. Haake, R.L. Zuerner, A. Frank and C.E. Cameron. 2012. Methylation and in vivo expression of the surface-exposed Leptospira interrogans outer membrane protein OmpL32. Microbiology. 158:622-635.

18. Dickerson, M.T., M.B. Abney, C.E. Cameron, M. Knecht, L.G. Bachas and K.W. Anderson. 2012. Fibronectin Binding to the Treponema pallidum Adhesin Protein Tp0483 on Functionalized Self-Assembled Monolayers. Bioconjugate Chemistry. 23:184-195.

19. Houston, S., R. Hof, L. Honeyman, J. Hassler, and C.E. Cameron. 2012. Activation and proteolytic activity of the Treponema pallidum metalloprotease, Pallilysin. PLoS Pathogens. 8(7):e1002822.

20. Eshghi, A., K. Lourdault, G. Murray, T. Bartpho, R.W. Sermswan, M. Picardeau, B. Adler, B. Snarr, R. L. Zuerner, and C.E. Cameron. 2012. Leptospira interrogans catalase is required for resistance to H2O2 and for virulence.  Infection and Immunity. 80:3892-3899.

21. Houston, S. and C.E. Cameron. 2013. Treponema pallidum dissemination; facilitating immune evasion and bacterial persistence, in: Microbiology, Immunology and Infectious Diseases, (M. Embers, ed.). Chapter 1, pp. 3-18. Springer Science and Business Media, New York, NY.

22. Smith, B.C., Y. Simpson, M.G. Morshed, L.L.E. Cowen, R. Hof, C. Wetherell, and C.E. Cameron. 2013. Syphilis diagnosis – new proteins for a new perspective. Journal of Clinical Microbiology. 51:105-111.

23. Witchell, T.D., Eshghi, A., Nally, J.E., Hof, R., Boulanger, M.J., Wunder, E.A., Ko, A.I., Haake, D.A. and Cameron, C.E. 2014. Post-translational modification of LipL32 during Leptospira interrogans infection. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases. 8(10):e3280. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0003280.

24. Houston, S., Russell, S., Hof, R., Roberts, A.K., Cullen, P., Irvine, K., Smith, D.S., Borchers, C.H., Tonkin, M.L., Boulanger, M.J., and Cameron, C.E. 2014. The multifunctional role of the pallilysin-associated Treponema pallidum protein, Tp0750, in promoting fibrinolysis and extracellular matrix component degradation. Molecular Microbiology. 91:618-634. PMC3954913.

25. Cameron, C.E. and S.A. Lukehart. 2014. Current status of syphilis vaccine development: need, challenges, prospects. Vaccine. 32:1602-1609. PMC3951677.

26. Cameron, C.E. 2014. Leptospiral structure, physiology and metabolism. In: Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology, (B. Adler, ed). Chapter 3. Springer, New York.

27. Houston, S., Taylor, J.S. and Cameron, C.E. 2014. Spirochaetes. Encyclopedia of Life Sciences. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Chichester http://www.els.net/ [DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0000466.pub3]

28. Alt, D., Wilson-Welder, J., Bayles, D., Cameron, C., Adler, B., Bulach, D., Seemann, T., Lehane, M., Haines, L., Darby, A., Hall, N., Radford, A., and Zuerner, R. 2015. Complete genome sequence of Leptospira interrogans serovar Bratislava, Strain PigK151. Genome Announcements.3(3). pii: e00678-15. doi: 10.1128/genomeA.00678-15.

29. Houston S., Taylor J.S., Denchev Y., Hof R., Zuerner R.L. and Cameron C.E. 2015. The host-interacting proteins Tp0750 and pallilysin; conservation among treponemes and restriction of proteolytic capacity to Treponema pallidum. Infect Immun. 83:4204-4216. PMC4598410.

30. Gottlieb, S.L., Deal, C.D., Giersing, B., Rees, H., Bolan, G., Johnston, C., Timms, P., Gray-Owen, S.D., Jerse, A.E., Cameron, C.E., Moorthy, V.S., Kiarie, J., and Broutet, N. 2016. The global roadmap for advancing development of vaccines against sexually transmitted infections: Update and next steps. Vaccine. 34:2939-2947.

31. Osbak, K.K., Kenyon, C., Lithgow, K., Houston, S., Meehan, C., Strouhat, M., Smajs, D., Cameron, C.E., Van Ostade, X. Van Raemdonck, G. 2016. Characterizing the Syphilis-Causing Treponema pallidum ssp. pallidum proteome using complementary mass spectrometry. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases. 10:e0004988.

32. Lithgow, K.V. and Cameron, C.E. 2016. Vaccine development for syphilis. Expert Review of Vaccines. PMID: 27328030.

33. Champredon, D., Cameron, C.E., Smieja, M. and Dushoff, J. 2016. Epidemiological impact of a vaccine against syphilis: a simulation study. Epidemiology and Infection. 144:3244-3252.

34. Parker, M.L., Houston, S., Wetherell, C., Cameron, C.E. and Boulanger, M.J. 2016. The structure of Treponema pallidum Tp0624 reveals a modular assembly of divergently functionalized and previously uncharacterized domains. PLoS One. In press. EMID:fb1443e34535a00e.

35. Parker, M.L., Houston, S., Lithgow, K.V., Kao, W., Moriarty, T.J., Cameron, C.E., and Boulanger, M.J. The structure of Treponema pallidum Tp0751 (pallilysin) reveals a lipocalin-like fold that mediates adhesion to extracellular matrix components and interactions with host cells. PLoS Pathogens. 12:e1005919.

36. Rekart, M.L., Ndifon, W., Brunham, R.C., Dushoff, J., Park, S.W., Rawat, S., and Cameron, C.E. 2016. A double-edged sword: does highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) contribute to syphilis incidence by impairing immunity to Treponema pallidum? In press: sextrans-2016-052870.