Type III Secretion
Science Policy and Communication
Department of Pathology
Tennis Court Road
University of Cambridge
How cells secrete proteins and how they assemble the transmembrane structures required to accomplish this challenging feat have long been an interest to scientists. I study a system in Gram-negative bacteria called the Type III Secretion System (T3SS) that is involved in both virulence and motility. Gram-negative bacteria have two membranes that any molecule must transverse if it is to enter or leave the cell. The T3SS provides one such pathway for export. My particular interests lie in bacterial flagellar T3SS assembly and how this contributes to overall flagella assembly. Flagella, long helical propellers built far outside the cell, are necessary for many bacteria to swim in their environment and are vital in many models of infection. If we can unlock the secrets of this system’s regulation and assembly, we will be better able to develop new treatments against notorious pathogens and have a greater understanding of biological nanostructures.