Pilot Project Awarded 2013
Yong-Mei Zhang, PhD
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Regulation of bacterial membrane homeostasis by toxin-antitoxin system GnsA/YmcE
Intact cell membrane is vital to both active and metabolically inactive pathogens, for energy metabolism, redox homeostasis and separation from their environment to maintain cell viability. Therefore, targeting membrane functions has emerged as an attractive strategy to combat persistent infections. Toxin-antitoxin (TA) systems are ubiquitous in bacteria, regulating cell growth and death. In this pilot project, we aim to decipher how GnsA/YmcE, a newly identified TA system, regulates bacterial membrane homeostasis by interfering with FabZ enzyme activity. Findings from this research will identify a new strategy to develop antibacterials by interrupting membrane function via the inhibition of FabZ activity.