Understanding how metal ions traverse bacterial cell membranes

Metal ions are essential for the cellular chemistry in every cell in all forms of life. Pathogenic bacteria scavenge their essential metals from the host environment to enable colonization and disease. The McDevitt lab is investigating the transport pathways that enable the uptake of these metals in bacteria such as Streptococcus pneumoniae, Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

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The roles of metal ions in host-pathogen interaction

Scavenging metal ions from the host is a crucial facet of bacterial infection. Recent research has revealed that the innate immune system can manipulate the availability of certain metal ions during infection either starving or poisoning the bacteria. Our research investigates which metal ions are used to kill invading bacteria and the molecular targets of these metals.

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Characterising the cellular roles of metals

Advancements in the field of bacterial chemical biology have been limited due to a lack of capabilities beyond traditional probes that have restricted the field to the use of non-physiological model systems. Work in the McDevitt lab combines innovative new methodologies and technical approaches to directly address unresolved questions in how bacterial organisms use metal ions and the molecular targets of metal toxicity.

Our research is supported by

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