The role of mitochondria in Coxiella burnetii infection

Research Opportunity
PhD, Masters by Research, Honours
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Bio21 Molecular Science and Biotechnology Institute
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
Dr Diana Stojanovski 93053197
Co-supervisor Email Number Webpage
Dr Hayley Newton

Project Details

Some pathogenic bacteria replicate to large numbers inside human cells. This strategy 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. The intracellular bacterial pathogen Coxiella burnetii, the causative agent of Q-fever, delivers a unique cohort of effectors into the host cell.

We have identified a number of the C. burnetii effector proteins that are targeted to mitochondria. We are interested to characterise how these effector proteins are delivered to the mitochondrion and study how they interact with mitochondrial proteins to allow C. burnetii to replicate within a eukaryotic cell. We will do this by employing a range of cell and molecular biology techniques, including tissue culture, microscopy, protein chemistry and proteomics.

Relevant references:

Infection and Immunity (2017) 1;85(5). pii: e01046-16. “A prenylated Coxiella burnetii effector forms a multimeric complex at the mitochondrial outer membrane during infection.” Fielden L., Moffatt J., Kang Y., Baker MJ., Khoo C., Roy C., Stojanovski D., and Newton H.

Cell Tissue Research (2016) 367: 141-154. “Targeting mitochondria: how intravacuolar bacterial pathogens manipulate mitochondria.” Fielden LF., Kang Y., and Newton HJ., Stojanovski D.

School Research Themes

Molecular Mechanisms of Disease

Research Opportunities

PhD, Masters by Research, Honours
Students who are interested in joining this project will need to consider their elegibility as well as other requirements before contacting the supervisor of this research

Graduate Research application

Honours application

Key Contact

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


Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Research Group / Unit / Centre

Stojanovski laboratory: Mitochondrial biogenesis in health and disease

Research Node

Bio21 Molecular Science and Biotechnology Institute

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