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Studies on pathogenic Escherichia coli responsible for extra-intestinal infections of man

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  • Full or part time
    Prof I Roberts
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

Escherichia coli are responsible for a number of serious extra-intestinal infections of man. These range from urinary tract infections through to septicaemia and meningitis. Often these E. coli are resistant to many antibiotics. The expression of cell surface structures such as the polysaccharide capsule or K antigen, is important during infection and growth in the host. These structures are important in mediating interactions between the pathogen and its immediate environment in the host. Specifically the expression of a K antigen is important in protecting the E. coli from killing by the host’s innate immune response. The project will focus in understanding how expression of the polysaccharide capsule is mediated during growth on and in host uroepithelial cells following invasion. The project will use state of the art genomics methodologies such as RNAseq as well as advanced live cell imaging.

Funding Notes

This project has a Band 2 fee. Details of our different fee bands can be found on our website. For information on how to apply for this project, please visit the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health Doctoral Academy website. Informal enquiries may be made directly to the primary supervisor.


•Corbett, D., Roberts, IS. (2009). The role of microbial polysaccharides in host-pathogen interaction. F1000 Biology Reports 2009, 1:30 (doi: 10.3410/B1-30)

•Hafez, M., Hayes, K., Goldrick, M., Warhurst, G., Grencis, R., Roberts, I. S. (2009).
The K5 capsule of Escherichia coli strain Nissle 1917 is important in mediating interactions with intestinal epithelial cells and chemokine induction. Infect. Immun. 77: 2995-3003.

•Hafez, M., Hayes, K., Goldrick, M., Grencis, R., Roberts, I. S. (2010).
The K5 capsule of Escherichia coli strain Nissle 1917 is important in stimulating expression of TLR5, CD14, MyD88 and TRIF together with the induction of IL-8 expression via the MAPK-pathway in epithelial cells. Infect. Immun. 78:2153-2162

•Thompson, J. E., Pourhossein, M., Waterhouse, A., Hudson, T., Goldrick, M., Derrick, J. P., Roberts. I. S. (2010). The K5 lyase KflA combines a viral tail spike structure with a bacterial lyase mechanism. J. Biol. Chem. 285: 23963-23969.

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