Structural Systems Biology
For a successful infection pathogenic microorganisms first need to outwit the immune system. One such strategy is to inject virulence proteins into the host in order to hijack host cellular processes. Many Gram-negative bacteria use a huge macromolecular complex, known as the type III secretion system (T3SS), to achieve this. The T3SS forms a syringe-shaped transport channel spanning both bacterial membranes. Virulence proteins are actively transported through this system in a spatio-temporal manner. The focus of our group is to decipher the assembly and function of this system in order to understand how virulence proteins are delivered into the host cell.