A biochemical and molecular analysis of the YhaO membrane protein in Escherichia coli O157:H7

A biochemical and molecular analysis of the YhaO membrane protein in Escherichia coli O157:H7

E. coli O157causes serious and life threatening infections which can affect some 1000 people every year in the UK. One key virulence factor for E. coli O157 is the locus for enterocyte effacement which encodes its type three secretion system (T3SS) used to deliver effector proteins into eukaryotic cells. Exactly how and when the T3SS is controlled is not fully understood.

Our ongoing work has identified a membrane protein that appears to sense environmental signals and affect expression of the T3SS. However, how this signal is transduced from the membrane to affect gene expression is not clear- the membrane protein is not a typical 2 component sensor and topology models are likely to be unreliable as no membrane protein with a periplasmic C terminus has been crystallised. We aim to identify the target substrate for the membrane protein, understand how gene expression is affected and gain important information as to the structure of the sensory protein.


This grant employs one post-doc, Mads Gabrielsen, and a lab-technician, Irene Houghton.