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The Function of the Bacterial Cytoskeleton in the Virulence of Salmonella

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The view that bacteria do not possess a cytoskeleton has radically changed in recent years. Intracellular protein assemblies resembling eukaryotic cytoskeletal elements have been identified in bacteria. These bacterial proteins play key roles in cellular morphology, DNA segregation, and cell division. However, there are significant gaps in our knowledge on the function of the bacterial cytoskeleton in the virulence of pathogens. We have addressed this knowledge-gap and identified the existence of an actin-like cytoskeleton in Salmonella. Furthermore, the importance of these cytoskeletal elements to the ability of Salmonella to cause disease has been explored. Using a broad range of independent experimental approaches, we demonstrate the actin-like cytoskeleton impacts upon cellular morphology, motility, type 3 secretion systems, and the ability of Salmonella to cause disease in vivo. The bacterial cytoskeleton represents an attractive target for novel anti-infectives.

This talk is part of the Departmental Seminar Programme, Department of Veterinary Medicine series.

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