Marianne Pusztai-Carey, PhD

Associate Professor
Department of Biochemistry
School of Medicine

Research Information

Research Interests

Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) is a soil bacterium which produces proteinaceous inclusion bodies during sporulation. The inclusion bodies contain genetically encoded insecticidal proteins with very narrow insect specificity. Dipteran Bt toxins control mosquitoes and blackflies, lepidopteran toxins protect forest and crops from caterpillars of moths, while coleopterans kill beetles. Bt has been used for insect control over 60 years without any negative health effect on humans, animals, birds or non-target insects. Recent advances made possible to place the Bt genes in plants. The transgenic Bts express the insecticidal proteins providing self protection to the plants against mostly lepidopteran insects. The mechanism of the bioactivity is largely known, but lots of details are yet to be described. My projects are involved 1/ in studies to fine tune the understanding of the mechanism of the dipteran Bts 2/ in collaboration with entomologists develop and maintain insect resistance under laboratory conditions to study the mechanism, in an effort to preempt the impact of possible field resistance 3/ working on the eradication of hunger in India via participating in the registration process of Bt transgenic crops as participant of an international consortium.


View Publications

  • Carey P.R, Whitmer G.R, Yoon M.J, Lombardo M.N, Pusztai-Carey M., Heidari-Torkabadi H., Che T.
    “Measuring Drug-Induced Changes in Metabolite Populations of Live Bacteria: Real Time Analysis by Raman Spectroscopy”
    J Phys Chem B. 122 (24): 6377-6385 (2018).
  • Carey P.R, Gibson B.R., Gibson J.F., Greenberg M.E., Heidari-Torkabadi H., Pusztai-Carey M., Weaver S.T., Whitmer G.R.
    “Defining Molecular Details of the Chemistry of Biofilm Formation by Raman Microspectroscopy. ”
    Biochemistry 56(17): 2247-2250. (2017)
  • Heidari-Torkabadi H., Bethel C.R., Ding Z., Pusztai-Carey M., Bonnet R., Bonomo R.A., Carey P.R.
    “"Mind the Gap": Raman Evidence for Rapid Inactivation of CTX-M-9 β-Lactamase Using Mechanism-Based Inhibitors that Bridge the Active Site. ”
    J Am Chem Soc. 137(40):12760-3. (2015).
  • Heidari Torkabadi H., Che T., Shou J., Shanmugam S., Crowder M.W., Bonomo R.A., Pusztai-Carey M., Carey P.R.
    “Raman spectra of interchanging β-lactamase inhibitor intermediates on the millisecond time scale. ”
    J Am Chem Soc. 135(8):2895-8 (2013).
  • Che T, Bonomo RA, Shanmugam S, Bethel CR, Pusztai-Carey M, Buynak JD, Carey PR.
    “Carboxylation and decarboxylation of active site Lys 84 controls the activity of OXA-24 β-lactamase of Acinetobacter baumannii: Raman crystallographic and solution evidence. ”
    J Am Chem Soc. 134(27):11206-15 (2012).
  • Anilkumar KJ, Pusztai-Carey M, and Moar WJ
    “Fitness costs associated with Cry1Ac-resistant Helicoverpa zea (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae): a factor countering selection for resistance to Bt cotton?”
    Journal of Economic Entomology 101(4):1421-31, (2008)
  • Crespo, AL. B., Spencer T A., Nekl E, Pusztai-Carey, M., Moar W.J., and Siegfried B.D.
    “Comparison and Validation of Methods to Quantify Cry1Ab Toxin from Bacillus thuringiensis for Standardization of Insect Bioassays”
    Applied and Environmental Microbiology 74(1), 130-135 (2008)
  • Anilkumar, K.J., Rodrigo-Sim�n, A., Ferr�, J., Pusztai-Carey, M. Sivasupramaniam, S. and Moar W. J.
    “Production and Characterization of Bacillus thuringiensis Cry1Ac-Resistant Cotton Bollworm Helicoverpa zea (Boddie)”
    Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 74: 462-469 (2008)
  • Totir, M.A., Helfand, M., Carey, M.P. Sheri, A., Buynak, J., Bonomo, R. A. and Carey, P.R.
    “Sulbactam forms only minimal Amounts of irreversible acrylate-enzyme with SHV-1 ?-lactamase”
    Biochemistry 46(31):8980-7 (2007)
  • Manceva, S. D., Pusztai-Carey, M., Butko P.
    “Effect of pH and ionic strength on the cytolitic toxin CytA: a fluorescence spectroscopy study”
    Biochim. Biophys. Acta 1699, 123-130 (2004)
  • Hall, P. R., Zheng, R., Antony, L., Pusztai-Carey, M., Carey, P. R. and Yee, V. C.
    “Transcarboxylase 5S structures: assembly and catalytic mechanism of a multienzyme complex subunit”
    EMBO J. 23, 3621-3631 (2004)


The University of Debrecen
Post Doc
Department of Biochemistry
The University of Debrecen
Post Doc
Department of Pharmacology
Mount Sinai School of Medicine