The group is studying the infectious and virulence properties of Borrelia spirochete and the intracellular parasite Chlamydia.
The overall aim of this project is to gain an increased knowledge of the virulence properties of the tick-borne Borrelia spirochete, ie disease-causing ability. We conduct basic research on the mechanisms of the antigenic variation of membrane proteins in Borrelia, and to characterize and define the components involved in the interactions between RF Borrelia and erythrocytes and the effect that red blood cell aggregation exhibits at the cellular and molecular level in mammalian hosts.
We also investigate which molecules are involved in the interactions that the Lyme Borrelia spirochete exhibits with different mammalian cells and tissues. In addition, we conduct structural and functional studies of the molecules that are located on the bacterial surface to gain an increased understanding of the function of the pore-forming proteins, DipA, P13, P66 and the TolC homologue BesC.
In a project concerning the intracellular bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis, we study, in collaboration with Professor Fredrik Almqvist at the Department of Chemistry, the virulence properties of this bacterium with the help of chemical genetics. In this project we have shown that a class of small molecules, 2-pyridone amides, can block and affect the pathogenic ability of this bacterium by preventing the production of viable offspring.