Understanding how gram-negative bacteria respond to oxidative stress

Oxygen, though essential for aerobic life, is inherently toxic due to the unpaired electrons in its outer shell that allow it to form reactive oxygen species. Bacterial proteins can be damaged by these species, particularly through the oxidation of thiol (-SH) groups on cysteine and methionine residues. The periplasm of gram-negative bacteria is particularly oxidising and so periplasmic redox pathways that protect and repair protein thiol groups from oxidation are important for bacterial fitness. This makes these thiol redox pathways prospective targets for antibacterial agent development, but there is still much we don’t know about the proteins within these pathways.

This project aims to understand the structure and function of and interactions between proteins in thiol redox pathways in gram-negative bacteria. The project is multidisciplinary, and students will learn skills in protein biochemistry, structural biology and bacteriology.


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