Our group study stress regulatory mechanisms and RNA-mediated regulation in the bacterial pathogen Listeria monocytogen.
The intracellular pathogen Listeria monocytogenes has turned out to be a very important model for the study of host-pathogen interactions and bacterial adaptation to mammalian hosts.
We are studying different aspects of RNA-mediated virulence gene regulation in L. monocytogenes. By using different approaches, we have identified several RNA based regulatory mechanisms involving riboswitches, thermosensors, mRNA:mRNA interactions and RNA-helicases in L. monocytogenes. Several of them are involved in virulence by controlling different steps in the infection process. Using a new DMS-based approach, we are examining the global RNA structurome at different conditions and genetic backgrounds.
We have also identified small molecules, 2-pyridones, that can hamper Listeria infection by binding to and blocking the action of the master virulence regulator PrfA. Through an extensive collaboration network, we have been able to refine and improve the 2-pyridones and identified the 2-pyridone-PrfA interaction at Ångström resolution.
We are also examining how Listeria can face and respond to different stresses. This response is mainly exerted through the stressosome, where we previously identified a blue-light receptor which is crucial for bacteria to sense light-stress.
Our work will give important knowledge of how the bacteria functions and we believe this will help us to develop new antibacterial drugs.