Daniele Provenzano, Ph.D.

Daniele Provenzano, Ph.D.

Department of Biology
Joint appointment: School of Earth, Environmental, and Marine Sciences

BLHSB 2.816
(956) 882-5045


  • BIOL 1306 - General Biology I
  • BIOL 2401 - Anatomy & Physiology
  • BIOL 3312 - Cell and Molecular Biology
  • BIOL 4100 - Biology Seminar
  • BIOL 6316 - Molecular Genetics


  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard Medical School
  • Ph.D. Microbiology, University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio
  • B.S. Biology, University of Texas Pan American

Areas of Interest

Vibrio cholerae, Type VI Secretion System (T6SS), intra- and interspecies competition, host-pathogen interactions, HGT (horizontal gene transfer).


Vibrio cholerae is the causative agent of cholera a devastating and potentially lethal form of diarrhea that persists as a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in the developing world.  While only a subset of V. cholerae strains encode genes for the virulence factors Cholerae Toxin (CT) and Toxin-Coregulated Pilus (TCP) required for pandemic spread, all cholera bacteria and 25% of all Proteobacteria harbor genes coding a type VI secretion system (T6SS).   T6SS gene products assemble into a dynamic molecular puncturing device in the cytosol of bacteria to deliver efector molecules (toxins) into adjacent cells.  Three effector molecules have been identified in V. cholerae along with cognate immunity proteins that protect kin bacteria from T6SS-mediated killing.  Effector/immunity pairs appear to be horizontally mobilized within otherwise highly conserved T6SS gene clusters.  Examination of Vibrio cholerae strains endemic to the lower Rio Grande Delta led to the discovery of a wide range of effector/immunity pair alleles indicating that, in addition to interspecies competition, cholera bacteria also engage their T6SS in interspecies competition.  T6SS-mediated interspecies competition is linked to V. cholerae’s ability to colonize the human host because nearly all strains that harbor CT and TCP (which reside on horizontally mobilized genetic elements CT-phage and VPI respectively) possess the same T6SS effector/immunity alleles.  Characterization of novel episomal genetic elements and whole genome sequence data mining of V. cholerae strains endemic to the lower Rio Grande Delta as well as explorations of applications for therapeutic intervention strategies based on these T6SS discoveries are on-going.

Recent Publications

  • Unterweger, D., S. Miyata, V. Bachmann, T. Brooks, T. Mullins, D. Provenzano, and S. Pukatzki. 2014. The Vibrio cholerae type VI secretion system employs modular effector islands for intraspecific competition. Nature Communications 5.
  • Pukatzki, S. and D. Provenzano. 2013. Vibrio cholerae as a predator: lessons from evolutionary principles. Frontiers in Microbiology 4(384), 1-5.
  • Gonzales, M., T. Brooks, S. Pukatzki, and D. Provenzano. 2013. Rapid Protocol for Preparation of Electrocompetent Escherichia coli and Vibrio cholerae. Journal of Visualized Experiments 8(80), 50684.

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