Gram-positive bacteria are causative agents of serious and often fatal infections in both hospital and community settings, however many fundamental aspects of their physiology and pathogenesis remain poorly studied in comparison to their Gram-negative counterparts. The fundamental process of Gram-positive protein secretion, critical for the delivery of virulence factors, is one of these largely understudied physiological facets. Our research focuses on post-translocation secretion chaperones in the human Gram-positive pathogens Listeria monocytogenes and Streptococcus pneumoniae, with the aim to better understand the processes underlying protein secretion, folding, and activity following membrane translocation. Defining paradigms of Gram-positive protein secretion will ultimately enable the design of therapeutic strategies that both inhibit virulence factor secretion and increase antibiotic susceptibility by targeting essential exposed components of the bacterial cell surface.
In addition to microbiology and molecular biology techniques, our lab also utilizes biochemical/biophysical approaches such as isothermal titration calorimetry and microscale thermophoresis.