Unraveling autotransporter function in bacterial aggregates and biofilms (ARC Discovery Project administered by La Trobe University) (2015–2017)
Autotransporters are a large family of bacterial proteins that play a central role in pathogenesis. They
promote the formation of cell clusters and biofilms, which are mechanisms for bacterial resistance to host
immune factors and antibiotics. Currently, the precise mode of action of autotransporters is unknown. This
project will examine the interplay between the structure and function of key autotransporter proteins. The
outcomes of this research will establish how these proteins mediate aggregation and biofilm formation. It will
also provide 3D structures of proteins that are strongly immunogenic and may represent targets for future
vaccine design. Furthermore, this project will identify molecules that inhibit autotransporter function.