We study the molecular mechanisms used by bacteria to display and utilize virulence factors. Our goal is to leverage this knowledge to discover novel antibiotics and to develop new tools for biotechnological applications. Our research is interdisciplinary, but primarily employs NMR, crystallography, biochemical and microbiological methods.


 

Ongoing Research

Structural Biology of Protein and Polymer Display

Bacterial pathogens display virulence factors that enable them to adhere to host tissues, resist phagocytic killing, invade host cells and acquire essential nutrients. We are studying how bacteria synthesize and display two types of virulence factors: (i) pili, proteinaceous fibers that project from the bacterial cell surface to mediate adhesion, and (ii) Wall Teichoic Acids (WTAs), highly...

Molecular Basis of Heme-Iron Acquisition by Pathogenic Microbes

To successfully mount infections bacterial pathogens actively procure iron from their human host, which is extremely scarce because of nutritional immunity mechanisms. Hemoglobin within erythrocytes is an attractive source of iron, as it contains ~75-80% of the body’s total iron in the form of heme (iron-protoporphyrin IX). In ongoing research, we studying the molecular mechanisms used by Gram...

Chemical Biology: Antibiotic Discovery

The emergence of antibiotic resistance bacteria is significant health concern. Our goal is to discover new anti-infective agents that can be used to combat infections caused by methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and other multidrug resistant Gram-positive bacteria. Toward this objective, we are using high throughput screening approaches to identify small molecules that...

Lab News

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07/20 Scott M. was awarded a UCLA Dissertation Year Fellowship!

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06/20  Andrew G. was awarded a Cellular and Molecular Biology Training Grant!

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05/20  Chris Sue's paper was published!

Sue CK, McConnell SA, Ellis-Guardiola K, Muroski JM, McAllister RA, Yu J, Alvarez AI, Chang C, Ogorzalek Loo RR, Loo JA, Ton-That H. and Clubb RT. Kinetics and optimization of the lysine-isopeptide bond forming activity of the pilus-specific sortase from Corynebacterium diphtheriae. Bioconjugation Chemistry 31 2020; 1624-1634.

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05/20  Jason's paper was published!

Gosschalk JE, Wu C, Sue CK, Kattke MD, Yi SW, Damoiseaux R, Jung ME, Ton-That H and Clubb RT. A cell-based screen in Actinomyces oris to identify sortase inhibitors. Scientific Reports 10 2020; 8520

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