Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a significant human pathogen. Pathogenicity of P. aeruginosa resides in its high versatility and the intrinsically high antibiotic resistance. Only a handful of antibiotics are effective against P. aeruginosa, and the emergence of drug resistant strains renders this bacterium virtually immune to existing antibiotics. The Center investigates cell biology of P. aeruginosa seeking to understand mechanisms that underlie its pathogenicity and looking for novel ways to control it. The Center focuses on three aspects of P. aeruginosa physiology.
Chromosome structure and segregation
Chromosome plays a central role in the life of all living cells. In P. aeruginosa, correct folding of the chromosome is essential for the robust response to diverse environmental challenges. Rybenkov group studies organization and segregation of P. aeruginosa chromosome with an emphasis on condensins.
Condensins play a unique role in chromosome folding. These multisubunit cellular ATPases act as macromolecular clamps that bridge distant DNA segments and have an intrinsic ability to self-organize into the chromosome scaffold. Condensins are also involved in other aspects of cell physiology. In P. aeruginosa, they mediate the global layout and segregation of the chromosome, control gene expression and are integrated into adaptive behavior of the bacterium.