Microbiology and Immunology are proud to report that three of the Department’s researchers gained Marsden Fund grants in the 2013 round. An exceptional achievement by Greg Cook, Andy Mercer, and Keith Ireton.
Professor Greg Cook
Pumping lysine to achieve metabolic homeostasis during infection
Mycobacterium tuberculosis is a highly effective pathogen that has evolved numerous mechanisms to successfully invade, replicate, and persist in humans. We have identified an unprecedented role for a lysine transporter (exporter) during M. tuberculosis infection and mycobacterial growth on lipids. We hypothesize that lysine export is crucial for achieving metabolic homeostasis by acting as a “relief valve” or novel energy spilling mechanism. The elucidation of molecular mechanisms governing metabolic homeostasis could identify critical pathways for targets in drug discovery or vaccine design in the fight against tuberculosis.
Cook Lab Research
Professor Andrew Mercer
BAFfled: how does orf virus defeat the BAF cellular defence mechanism?
This project will define a new mechanism by which viruses evade cellular defences. The cellular protein, BAF, is part of our innate defences against viral infection. Most poxviruses defeat this defence by using a viral kinase to phosphorylate BAF. However, Professor Mercer has identified some poxviruses that lack this kinase but can still counteract BAF. The aim of this project is to identify the factor these viruses use to defeat BAF and characterise its mechanism of action.
Mercer Lab Research
Dr Keith Ireton
Role of host cell polarized exocytosis in spread of bacterial pathogens
The project involves the use of genetic and microscopy-based approaches to determine if localised insertion of host membrane ('exocytosis') mediates intercellular spread of the bacterial pathogen Listeria monocytogenes.
Ireton Lab Research
Further information can be found by clicking this link