Characterization of bacterial outer membrane vesicle-associated peptidoglycan via unnatural D-amino Acids

Project Year: 

2017

Team Leaders: 

Angela Brown, Ph.D. - Chemical Engineering
Marcos Pires, Ph.D. - Chemistry

Graduate Students: 

Sean Pidgeon
Justin Nice

Undergraduate Students: 

Lauren McKinley
Kourtney Mendello
Julia Nelson
Anxhela Sinani
Canset Tunc

Project Description: 

Bacteria continue to pose a tremendous threat to public health because of the increase in drug-resistance. Recently, it was discovered that bacterial cells will release tiny vesicles (pieces of themselves) starting at the point it firsts infects a patient and throughout the infection period. While the details are yet to be fully worked out, it is well-established that these vesicles play a very important role in defining the course of infection. The Brown and Pires laboratories are interested in studying how these vesicles can carry fragments of cell walls that are detected by the human immune system. To accomplish this, they will combine their expertise in manipulating them to tag the fragments of cell walls and visualize its interaction with human immune cells. They aim to use these observations to define the steps in vesicle binding to immune cells and the ultimate mediators of immune cell activation.