Extracellular Protein Export in Bacteria
Dr. Shahid Khan
Bacteria use a special protein export apparatus to infect human hosts or degrade the environment by biofilm formation. This apparatus is an attractive drug target since its protein components do not have homologues in humans or commercially important plants and animals. We have developed a mechanistic model for this apparatus based on bioinformatic analyses of the flagellar basal body, a paradigm for such export (right). We are presently applying computational, biochemical and structural approaches to understand how the apparatus assembles. Once structural elements essential for assembly are identified and determined at atomic resolution, rational drug design will be used to develop effective therapies and or pesticides, based on blocking assembly.