Glycosylation of pili in pathogenic Neisseria: function in disease and potential as a vaccine antigen [ 2002 - 2003 ]

Also known as: How and why bacteria responsible for meningitis and gonorrhoeae modify surface proteins by the addition of sugars.

Research Grant

[Cite as]

Researchers: Prof Michael Jennings (Principal investigator)

Brief description Disease caused by Group B Neisseria meningitidis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae remain a significant health problem worldwide. There are currently no vaccines available for either of these bacteria. A surface structure found on these bacteria, called pili, are key in host colonisation and disease. Genetics and structural studies have identified that the protein subunits, which make up pili, are glycosylated - modified by the addition of sugars. The role of glycosylation in the disease process is not known. It is possible that the glycosylation of pili is required for attachment to host cells or perhaps in evasion of the immune system. In our current studies, we have identified and analysed a number of genes involved in pili glycosylation, in bacteria which make structre that are know. We have also identified a series of new genes we believe are also involved in glycosylation. Some of these genes are involved in the biosynthesis of unknown structures and are common in bacteria isolated from patients with meningitis. We will identify these stuctures and characterise bacteria in which these genes have been inactivated so that we can examine the role of pili glycosylation in colonisation and disease. This study has the potential to yield important new information about the process of colonisation and disease, and also has the potential to facilitate novel approaches in vaccine development.

Funding Amount $AUD 150,880.00

Funding Scheme NHMRC Project Grants

Notes Standard Project Grant

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