University of Eastern Finland, Joensuu Campus
Supervisor: Juha Rouvinen
Most gram-negative pathogenic bacteria express surface virulence organelles, which they use to attach to host cells and cause infection. Chaperone/usher pathway assembles the most versatile class of such organelles called fimbriae or adhesive pili. Fimbriae are composed of linearly polymerized protein subunits. It has been suggested that many of fimbriae may establish multiple interactions with host cell receptors, acting as polyadhesins. In this study we have planned to determine structure of several medically important polyadhesins, to determine the structural basis of polyadhesin-receptor interactions, and to elucidate the physiological role of the polyvalent binding. To archive these goals, we will use a combination of modern methods in structural and molecular biology. The study may lead to creation of novel vaccines and diagnostic tools.