Research objectives and content
Escherichia coli is an important pathogen causing both intestinal and extraintestinal infections. In diseases caused by Escherichia coli, attachment to host cell tissue is a key step in establishing and maintaining infections. Type 1 fimbriae are the most ubiquitous adhesin found amongst Escherichia coli isolates. Expression of type 1 fimbriae is phase-variable and controlled by a genetic switch that can be turned off rapidly under certain conditions. Nothing is known about the loss of fimbriae from the bacterial surface once transcription has ceased. Given the highly immunogenic nature of fimbriae, the ability to become afimbriate quickly may be of importance for the survival of the bacteria during infection. This project aims to investigate the loss of fimbriae from Escherichia coli once transcription has been switched off. This process will be followed by using a variety of methods including Western blot analysis for the main fimbrial subunit protein and single cell fluorescence microscopy.
Training content (objective, benefit and expected impact)
Training will be focused on the proposed protein analysis and fluorescence microscopy, in particular the use of specialized software for analysis of the fluorescence images. It is anticipated that the research will lead to an application for EU funding as part of a collaboration between the two institutes.