Mitochondria as targets during bacterial pathogenesis

Bio21 Molecular Science and Biotechnology Institute
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
Prof Diana Stojanovski

Summary THE STOJANOVSKI GROUP is working to understand the inner workings of one of the cells most intriguing and important organelles, the Mitochondrion. Mitochondria are the cell’s power plant, where sugars from the food we eat are converted into energy that our bodies need to survive. Our lab is interested in how mitochondria are created and how they function in health, but also situations of dysfunction that lead to disease.

Project Details

Invasion of a human cell by pathogenic bacteria often requires that the bacteria manipulate the eukaryotic cell biology to create a replicative niche and evade killing. To achieve this, intracellular bacterial pathogens transport virulence proteins, termed effectors, into the host cytosol and beyond to other cellular compartments. Effector proteins from different bacteria and viruses are known to target mitochondria and try and manipulate organelle function. We are currently investigating the intracellular bacterial pathogens Coxiella burnetii and Legionella pneumophila, the causative agents of Q-fever and Legionnaire's disease, respectively.

In collaboration with Dr Hayley Newton we are: (i) working towards establishing the entire repertoire of effector proteins from these two bacterial species that are targeted to mitochondria; (ii) establishing how infection manipulates the mitochondrial proteome and function. Participation in this project will involve characterizing of novel effector proteins, how they are delivered to the mitochondrion and how they interact with mitochondrial proteins to allow these intracellular bacterial pathogens to replicate within a eukaryotic cell.

Projects in this space utilise a range of cell and molecular biology techniques, including mammalian cell culture, bacterial culturing, molecular biology, confocal microscopy, Blue-native PAGE electrophoresis, protein chemistry and proteomics.

School Research Themes

Cell Signalling

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact a supervisor.

Research Node

Bio21 Molecular Science and Biotechnology Institute

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