Catherine Nguyen L&S Sciences
Analysis of Diverse Mechanisms of BimA-mediated Actin-based Motility in Burkholderia Species
Members of the Burkholderia genus are Gram-negative intracellular bacteria that are highly pathogenic to humans and animals. Some species are capable of manipulating the actin cytoskeleton in eukaryotic cells for intracellular movement, which promotes cell-to-cell spread and evasion of the host immune system. However, the mechanism of actin nucleation is not understood. This project will determine how actin nucleation mediated by the conserved bacterial factor Burkholderia intracellular motility A (BimA), which is required for actin-based motility, differs among three Burkholderia species. Identification of BimA motifs that are important for actin-binding and actin nucleation will provide insight into the mechanisms by which the different species manipulate the host actin cytoskeleton during infection. This study has clinical and public health significance because these structural motifs could serve as targets of potential drug development to treat diseases such as melioidosis and glanders.