Lessons in Biology Taught by a Pathogen

August 27, 2020
4:00 pm – 4:45 pm

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Dr. Kehl-Fie will discuss how a pathogen and host’s struggle for essential metals during an infection informs treatment development and expands our understanding of bacteria!

The emergence of antibiotic resistance makes treating infections more difficult. As a result, drug-resistant bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA, pose an increasingly serious threat to human health. Transition metals are critical for all forms of life, with 30% of all proteins and 50% of all enzymes predicted to utilize a metal cofactor. Pathogens must acquire these critical nutrients from the host. As a defense, the immune system renders sites of infection virtually devoid of these critical nutrients in an attempt to starve the invaders. To counter this defense, bacteria utilize numerous strategies to obtain essential metals, including transporters that directly bind the metal and those that rely on microbially produced small molecules. The latter strategy, using metallophores, was thought to be limited to facilitating the acquisition of iron. However, recent studies revealed that S. aureus utilizes a metallophore and its cognate machinery to compete with the host for zinc. Dr. Kehl-Fie will discuss how studying this newly identified system and the struggle for metal during infection informs the development of strategies for treating infection and our understanding of bacteria that inhabit diverse environments.

Event Details

Thursday, August 27th, 2020, 4:00-4:45 pm CT, C2ST Facebook Live & C2ST TV Youtube Live.

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