The Koomey team
We are studying pathogenic bacteria, especially N. gonorrhoeae, with a particular focus on how pathogenic bacteria cause disease in man.
Our research has largely been focused on bacterial surface organelles termed Type IV pili (Tfp) or fimbriae which are required for colonization of epithelial tissues in man. By genetic, biochemical and structural analysis the group studies:
- the biosynthesis of pili
- the composition and structure of pili
- the molecular basis for pilus growth and retraction (required for cellular locomotion)
- binding of bacteria (through Tfp) to human tissue
- Tfp mediated binding and uptake of DNA.
During recent studies of posttranslational modifications of Tfp, we showed that not only Tfp but multiple proteins were glycosylated in N. gonorrhoeae, leading to a recent focus on the role of and diversity in O-linked protein glycosylation in bacteria. We have also recently studied the role of glycosylated c-type cytochromes in respiration.