Research Abstracts Online
January - December 2011
University of Minnesota Twin Cities
PI: Sandra K. Armstrong
Iron Transport in Bordetella pertussis
Nearly all bacteria require iron for growth and pathogenic bacteria must be able to obtain this essential nutrient in the iron-limiting host environment. Bordetella pertussis is the causative agent of whooping cough, or pertussis, in humans and the related Bordetella bronchiseptica causes respiratory infections in a variety of nonhuman mammals. These bacteria use multiple mechanisms to obtain iron in the host and mutants defective in those mechanisms have dramatically reduced virulence. Information obtained in these studies, which require computing resources available through MSI for molecular modeling and bioinformatics, will define the mechanisms of iron uptake and characterize host factors that influence the ability of these pathogens to obtain iron. This increased understanding may lead to improved strategies to prevent growth of these, and other respiratory pathogens, in humans.
Timothy J. Brickman, Research Associate