3. Pathogenic Microorganisms
My research interests have focused on the structural and functional relationships of the different macromolecules in the bacterial ribosome. In particular we have examined the roles of the numerous ribosomal proteins in the complex process of translation. Genetic and biochemical methods have been used to help uncover mutational changes in temperature-sensitive mutants responsible for alterations in protein synthesis. This research has identified specific functional defects in translation associated with mutational changes in single ribosomal proteins. Genes from the mutant cells have been cloned and the sequence alterations defined for several strains. We are also studying the inhibitory effects of antibiotics on bacterial ribosome biosynthesis. Subunit formation in cells is specifically prevented by many different antibiotics and this activity is equivalent to translation as a target for drug inhibition of growth in bacterial cells. This is a new target for antimicrobial agents. This work will help in the development of novel antimicrobial compounds which will specifically attack this new target and which may be more effective than current antibiotics against bacterial infections. We are examining a number of different antimicrobial agents for effects on translation and ribosome biogenesis. We are also currently investigating the mechanism of subunit assembly inhibition by antibiotics. Research on inhibition of bacterial ribosome biogenesis by antimicrobial agents.
Mr. Justin Beach, graduate student