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Mode of action of bacterial virulence factors and what they tell us about protein and lipid trafficking in the mammalian cells

English title Mode of action of bacterial virulence factors and what they tell us about protein and lipid trafficking in the mammalian cells
Applicant van der Goot Gisou
Number 102245
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Dépt Microbiologie et Médecine Moléculaire Faculté de Médecine Université de Genève
Institution of higher education University of Geneva - GE
Main discipline Experimental Microbiology
Start/End 01.10.2003 - 30.09.2008
Approved amount 1'178'270.00
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All Disciplines (3)

Discipline
Experimental Microbiology
Biochemistry
Cellular Biology, Cytology

Keywords (5)

aerolysin; anthrax toxin; rafts; GPI-anchored proteins; endocytosis

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary
Most pathogenic bacteria produce proteins, called toxins that alter the function or induce the death of cells of host, i.e. the infected individual. The effort of our laboratory is focused on understanding how these toxins, or bacterial weapons, functions, what the effects on the host are and finally study the mechanism by which the host cells react to this attack. We mainly study two toxins, aerolysin chosen as a representative of the largest class of bacterial toxins -pore-forming toxins, and the anthrax toxins.
Through these studies we expect to identify the cellular devices with which all cells are equipped to detect that their membrane has been damaged and to set up a repair mechanism as well as means to warn the immune system that an infectious agents is present. With respect to the anthrax toxin, we expect to identify the route that this toxin follows to enter into cells and thus damage then. The more we manage to determine the details of this route, the more likely we are to find specific dugs that will prevent toxin entry. While anthrax is not a serious threat in terms of public health, it is unfortunately in terms of human security, and thus understanding of its major toxin is of importance.
These studies will be performed by combining methods in cell biology, structural biology, biochemistry and imaging and will involve collaborations with laboratories through Switzerland and the world (France, USA, Australia,…).
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

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