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Discovering Mechanisms of Bacterial Cell Division: From Genotype to Phenotype

Investigators
Hsin, Jen
Institutions
Stanford University
Start date
2012
End date
2014
Objective
The recent outbreaks of bacterial infections caused by Escherichia coli and Listeria monocytogenes mark the critical importance in the search of new lines of antibiotics. In particular, existing drugs for bacterial infections all target the sam cellular processes, and bacteria are quick to develop resistance to these treatments. One direction for antibiotics design is to manufacture drugs that disrupt other cellular processes not yet targeted, such as cell division, which is a primary process required for cell survival. Yet thelack of understanding of bacterial cell division mechanisms renders such effort difficult.

Our proposal aims to provide a detailed, atomistic view on how bacterial cell division is carried out. We will focus on the essential cell division protein, FtsZ, which serves two roles during cell division: generation of mechanical forces that constrict cell width, and the recruitment and coordination of several other cell division proteins. We will combine biochemistry, imaging experiments, and physics-based computational techniques to resolve the molecular interactions that render FtsZ functional, and then genetically manipulate FtsZ to perturb these amino acids and interfere with the cell division process, causing cell death. Our investigation will unveil sits of FtsZ that can be targeted for antibiotic activities, thereby expediting the search for a new generation of antibacterial treatments.

More information
Public Health Relevance:
The recent outbreaks of bacterial infections caused by Escherichia coli and Listeria monocytogenes mark the critical importance in the search of new lines of antibiotics, as existing drugs for bacterial infections all target the same cellular processes, and bacteria are quick to develop resistance to these treatments. One direction for antibiotics design is to manufacture drugs that disrupt other cellular processes not yet targeted, such as cell division, which is a primary process required for cell survival, but the lack of understanding of bacterial cell division mechanisms renders such effort difficult. Our proposal aims to provide a detailed, atomistic view on how bacterial cell division is carried out, focusing on unveiling sites of FtsZ, the essential cell division protein, that can be targeted for antibioti activities, thereby expediting the search for a new generation of antibacterial treatments.
Funding Source
Nat'l. Inst. of General Medical Sciences
Project source
View this project
Project number
1F32GM100677-01A1
Categories
Escherichia coli
Listeria