Dr Alison East

Research interests

Group Leader: Professor Philip Poole


Project manager for Synthetic Symbioses, a six-centre research British-American collaboration jointly funded by BBSRC and NSF to engineer nitrogen fixation in bacteria associated with non-leguminous plants.

Bioinformatic analysis of rhizosphere gene expression and imaging of gene expression on plant roots. This is crucial to understanding the spatial and temporal basis for nutrient exchange and signalling in natural and synthetic symbioses.


Karunakaran R., East A. K., Poole P. S. Malonate catabolism does not drive N2 fixation in legume nodules. Applied and Environmental Microbiology (2013) 79:4496-8

Bourdès, A., Rudder, S., East, A.K. & Poole, P.S. Mining the Sinorhizobium meliloti transportome to develop FRET biosensors for sugars, dicarboxylates and cyclic polyols. PLoS ONE (2012) 7: 9 e43578.

Ramachandran V. K., East A. K., Karunakaran R., Downie J. A. & Poole P. S. Adaptation of Rhizobium leguminosarum to pea, alfalfa and sugar beet rhizospheres investigated by comparative transcriptomics. Genome Biology (2011) 12 R106.

Karunakaran R., Haag A. F., East A. K., Ramachandran V. K., Prell J., James E. K., Scocchi M., Ferguson G. P. & Poole P. S. BacA is essential for bacteroid development in nodules of galegoid, but not phaseoloid, legumes. J. Bact (2010) 192:2920-2928.

Karunakaran, K., Ramachandran, V. K., Seaman, J. C., East, A.K.,  Moushine, B.,  Mauchline, T. H., Prell, J., Skeffington, A. & Poole, P. S. Transcriptomic analysis of the symbiotic interaction between Rhizobium leguminosarum b.v. viciae and host plants (Pisum sativum and Vicia cracca). J. Bact (2009) 191:4002-4014.

Barr, M., East, A.K., Leonard, M., Mauchline, T.H. & Poole, P.S. In vivo expression technology (IVET) selection of genes of Rhizobium leguminosarum biovar viciae A34 expressed in the rhizosphere. FEMS Microbiol Lett; (2008) 282:219-27.

East, A.K., Mauchline, T.H. & Poole, P.S. Biosensors for ligand detection. Adv Appl Microbiol.; (2008) 64:137-66.

 Fox, M.A., Karunakaran, R.,  Leonard, M.E., Mouhsine, B.,  Williams, A.,  East, A.K., Downie, J.A. & Poole, P.S. Characterization of the quaternary amine transporters of Rhizobium leguminosarum bv. viciae 3841.  FEMS Microbiol Lett (2008) 287:212-220.

Mauchline, T.H., Fowler, J.E., East, A.K., Sartor, A.L., Zaheer, R., Hosie, A.H.F., Poole, P.S., Finan, T.M. Mapping the Sinorhizobium meliloti 1021 solute-binding protein-dependent transportome. PNAS. (2006) 103:17933-17938.

Young J.P., Crossman L.C. Johnston A.W., Thomson N.R., Ghazoui Z.F., Hull K.H., Wexler M., Curson A.R., Todd J.D., Poole P.S., Mauchline T.H., East A.K., Quail M.A., Churcher C., Arrowsmith C., Cherevach I., Chillingworth T., Clarke K., Cronin A., Davis P., Fraser A., Hance Z., Hauser H., Jagels K., Moule S., Mungall K., Norbertczak H., Rabbinowitsch E., Sanders M., Simmonds M., Whitehead S., Parkhill J. The genome of Rhizobium leguminosarum has recognizable core and accessory components. Genome Biology (2006) 7:R34.

Poole, P., Reid, C., East, A.K., Allaway, D., Day, M. & Leonard, M.: Regulation of the mdh-sucCDAB operon in Rhizobium leguminosarum. FEMS Microbiol Lett (1999) 176:247-255.

Santos-Buelga, J.A., Collins, M.D. & East, A.K.: Characterization of the genes encoding the botulinum neurotoxin complex in a strain of Clostridium botulinum producing type B and F neurotoxins. Curr Microbiol. (1998) 37:312-318.

East, A.K., Bhandari, M., Hielm, S. & Collins, M.D.: Analysis of the botulinum neurotoxin type F gene clusters in proteolytic and nonproteolytic Clostridium botulinum and Clostridium barati. Curr Microbiol. (1998) 37:262-268.

Rodriguez Jovita, M, Collins, M.D. & East, A.K.: Gene organization and sequence determination of the two botulinum neurotoxin gene clusters in Clostridium botulinum type A(B) strain NCTC 2916. Curr Microbiol. (1998) 36:226-231.

Collins, M.D. & East, A.K. Phylogeny and taxonomy of the food-borne pathogen Clostridium botulinum and its neurotoxins. J Appl Microbiol. (1998) 84:5-17.

Bhandari, M., Campbell K.D., Collins M.D. & East A.K. Molecular characterization of the clusters of genes encoding the botulinum neurotoxin complex in Clostridium botulinum (Clostridium argentinense) type G and non-proteolytic Clostridium botulinum type B. Curr Microbiol. (1997) 35:207-214.

Walshaw, D.L., Lowthorpe, S., East, A.K., & Poole, P.S. Distribution of a sub-class of bacterial ABC polar amino acid transporter and identification of an N-terminal region involved in solute speicificity. FEBS Letters (1997) 414:397-401.

East, A.K., Bhandari, M., Stacey, J.M., Campbell, K.D. & Collins, M.D. Organization and phylogenetic interrelationships of genes encoding components of the botulinum toxin complex in proteolytic Clostridium botulinum types A, B, and F: evidence of chimeric sequences in the gene encoding the nontoxic nonhemagglutinin component. Int J Syst Bacteriol. (1996) 46:1105-1112.

Cordoba, J.J., Collins, M.D. & East, A.K. Studies on the genes encoding botulinum neurotoxin type A of Clostridium botulinum from a variety of sources. System Appl. Microbiol. (1994) 18:13-22.

East, A.K., Stacey, J.M. & Collins, M.D. Cloning and sequencing of a hemagglutinin component of the botulinum neurotoxin complex encoded by Clostridium botulinum types A and B. System Appl. Microbiol. (1994) 17:306-312.

East, A.K. & Collins, M.D. Conserved structure of genes encoding components of botulinum neurotoxin complex M and the sequence of the gene coding for the nontoxic component in nonproteolytic Clostridium botulinum type F. Curr Microbiol. (1994) 29:69-77.

Hutson, R.A., Collins, M.D., East, A.K. & Thompson, D.E. Nucleotide sequence of the gene coding for non-proteolytic Clostridium botulinum type B neurotoxin: comparison with other clostridial neurotoxins. Curr Microbiol. (1994) 28:101-110.

Campbell, K.D, Collins, M.D & East, A.K. Nucleotide sequence of the gene coding for Clostridium botulinum (Clostridium argentinense) type G neurotoxin: genealogical comparison with other clostridial neurotoxins. Biochim Biophys Acta (1993) 1216:487-491.

Thornewell, S.J., East, A.K. & Errington, J. An efficient expression and secretion system based on Bacillus subtilis phage ɸ105 and its use for the production of B. cereus β-lactamase I. Gene (1993) 133:47-53.

Campbell, K.D., Collins, M.D. & East, A.K.  Gene probes for identification of the botulinal neurotoxin gene and specific identification of neurotoxin types B, E, and F. J Clin Microbiol. (1993) 31:2255-2262.

Willems, A., East, A.K., Lawson, P.A. & Collins, M.D. Sequence of the gene coding for the neurotoxin of Clostridium botulinum type A associated with infant botulism: comparison with other clostridial neurotoxins. Res Microbiol. (1993) 144:547-556.

Thompson, D.E., Hutson, R.A., East, A.K., Allaway, D, Collins, M.D & Richardson, P.T. Nucleotide sequence of the gene coding for Clostridium barati type F neurotoxin: comparison with other clostridial neurotoxins. FEMS Microbiol Lett. (1993) 108:175-182.

Campbell, K.D., East, A.K., Thompson, D.E. & Collins, M.D. Studies on the large subunit ribosomal RNA genes and intergenic spacer regions of non-proteolytic Clostridium botulinum types B, E and F. Res Microbiol. (1993) 144:171-180.

East, A.K., & Collins, M.D. Molecular characterization of DNA encoding 23S rRNA and 16S-23S rRNA intergenic spacer regions of Aeromonas hydrophila.FEMS Microbiol Lett. (1993) 106:129-133.

East, A.K., Thompson, D.E. & Collins, M.D. Analysis of operons encoding 23S rRNA of Clostridium botulinum type A. J Bacteriol. (1992)174:8158-8162.

East, A.K., Richardson, P.T., Allaway, D.,  Collins, M.D., Roberts, T.A. & Thompson, D.E. Sequence of the gene encoding type F neurotoxin of Clostridium botulinum. FEMS Microbiol Lett. (1992) 75:225-230.

East, A.K., Allaway, D. & Collins, M.D. Analysis of DNA encoding 23S rRNA and 16S-23S rRNA intergenic spacer regions from Plesiomonas shigelloides. FEMS Microbiol Lett. (1992) 74:57-62.

East, A.K., Curnock S.P. & Dyke K.G.H. Change of a single amino acid in the leader peptide of a staphylococcal beta-lactamase prevents the appearance of the enzyme in the medium. FEMS Microbiol Lett. (1990) 57:249-254.

East, A.K. & Errington, J. A new bacteriophage vector for cloning in Bacillus subtilis and the use of ɸ105 for protein synthesis in maxicells. Gene (1989) 81:35-43.

East, A.K. & Dyke K.G.H. Cloning and sequence determination of six Staphylococcus aureus β-lactamases and their expression in Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus. J. Gen Microbiol. (1989) 135:1001-1015.