Magdalene Yh So, PhD

Director, Microbial Pathogenesis Program
Professor, Immunobiology
Professor, BIO5 Institute
Professor, Biochemistry/Molecular Biophysics
Professor, Animal and Comparative Biomedical Services
Professor, Molecular and Cellular Biology
Professor, Genetics-GIDP

Maggie So began her independent research career at Cold Spring Harbor Labs, then the Scripps Research Institute. During this period she developed her program on the molecular mechanisms of antigenic variation in the pathogenic Neisseria. In 1993, she became chair of the Molecular Microbiology Department at Oregon Health Sciences University, where she gathered a group of highly collaborative scientists interested in the various facets of microbial pathogenesis. It was here that she developed her program on the cell biology of Neisseria pathogenesis, and on the role played by the Type IV pilus in host cell signaling. In 2007, she joined the BIO5 Institute and the Department of Immunobiology at University of Arizona, where she spearheads the Microbial Pathogenesis program and continues her research on the Type IV pilus, and where she began a program on commensal Neisseria. Research Interests The majority of pathogens enter the body via the mucosal surfaces. We are interested in how bacteria overcome defenses at this barrier. In particular, we study two closely related pathogens, Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Neisseria meningitidis. Our goals are to understand how the neisserial type IV pilus (Tfp) functions in infection, and to identify other determinants that promote attachment, invasion, and intracellular survival. We have also developed a research program on commensal species of Neisseria. In particular, we are interested in the role of the ubiquitous type IV pilus in commensal-host interactions. Our studies use a combination of experimental approaches, including genomics, cell signaling and trafficking, biophysics and high-resolution microscopy.

Recent Publications


Rhodes, K. A., M. A. Rendón, M. Cheong Ma, A. Agellon, A. C. E. Johnson, and M. So, "Type IV pilus retraction is required for colonization and persistence in a natural mouse model of infection.", mBio, vol. 15, issue 1, pp. e0279223, 2024 Jan 16. PMCID: PMC10790696  PMID: 38084997


Rhodes, K., M. Ma, and M. So, "A Natural Mouse Model for Neisseria Persistent Colonization.", Methods Mol Biol, vol. 1997, pp. 403-412, 2019. PMID: 31119636
Kim, W. J., A. Mai, N. J. Weyand, M. A. Rendón, K. Van Doorslaer, and M. So, "Neisseria gonorrhoeae evades autophagic killing by downregulating CD46-cyt1 and remodeling lysosomes.", PLoS Pathog, vol. 15, issue 2, pp. e1007495, 2019 02. PMCID: PMC6388937  PMID: 30753248
Rendón, M. A., B. Lona, M. Ma, and M. So, "RpoN and the Nps and Npa two-component regulatory system control pilE transcription in commensal Neisseria.", Microbiologyopen, vol. 8, issue 5, pp. e00713, 2019 May. PMCID: PMC6528607  PMID: 30079633


Powell, D. A., M. Ma, M. So, and J. A. Frelinger, "The Commensal Modulates Host Innate Immunity To Promote Oral Colonization.", Immunohorizons, vol. 2, issue 9, pp. 305-313, 2018 Oct 31. PMID: 31022695
Cabello, F. C., S. N. Cohen, R. Curtiss, G. Dougan, J. van Embden, B. B. Finlay, F. Heffron, D. Helinski, R. Hull, S. Hull, et al., "Farewell Stan Stanley Falkow: 1934-2018.", Environ Microbiol, vol. 20, issue 7, pp. 2322-2333, 2018 Jul. PMID: 30146753
Ma, M., D. A. Powell, N. J. Weyand, K. A. Rhodes, M. A. Rendón, J. A. Frelinger, and M. So, "A Natural Mouse Model for Neisseria Colonization.", Infect Immun, vol. 86, issue 5, 2018 05. PMCID: PMC5913851  PMID: 29440372


Łaniewski, P., A. Gomez, G. Hire, M. So, and M. M. Herbst-Kralovetz, "Human Three-Dimensional Endometrial Epithelial Cell Model To Study Host Interactions with Vaginal Bacteria and Neisseria gonorrhoeae.", Infect Immun, vol. 85, issue 3, 2017 03. PMCID: PMC5328489  PMID: 28052997


Hockenberry, A. M., D. M. Hutchens, A. Agellon, and M. So, "Attenuation of the Type IV Pilus Retraction Motor Influences Neisseria gonorrhoeae Social and Infection Behavior.", MBio, vol. 7, issue 6, 2016 12 06. PMCID: PMC5142622  PMID: 27923924
Weyand, N. J., M. Ma, M. Phifer-Rixey, N. A. Taku, M. A. Rendón, A. M. Hockenberry, W. J. Kim, A. B. Agellon, N. Biais, T. A. Suzuki, et al., "Isolation and characterization of Neisseria musculi sp. nov., from the wild house mouse.", Int J Syst Evol Microbiol, vol. 66, issue 9, pp. 3585-3593, 2016 Sep. PMCID: PMC5880574  PMID: 27298306