Microbial pathogenesis and genome dynamics
Meningococcal pilus biogenesis
Neisseria meningitidis, the meningococcus, is the causative agent of meningitis.
Pili are the primary virulence factor of this exclusive human pathogen. The
transport of these macromolecular structures across membranes is performed by a
complex machinery. We are characterising the structure-function relationship and
interactions of the components involved in this membrane transport.
Genome dynamics and genome maintenance
The genome of the meningococcus, is very unstable. To counteract this high genome
instability, there is a need for well-developed DNA repair mechanisms. Our studies
on genome instability and components providing genome maintenance in the
meningococcal model bacterium are most important for understanding the balance
between fitness for survival and disease development.
Genomics in the search for novel signature DNA sequences
We are using our combined expertise on evolutionary phylogeny, prokaryote cell
physiology and comparative genomics to identify new signature sequences. We are
currently defining new tools to target novel DNA binding proteins.
Intracellular survival of Mycobacterium tuberculosis
Mycobacterium tuberculosis is the cause of tuberculosis. Inside the hostile
environment of the macrophage phagolysozome, M. tuberculosis faces unusually harsh
challenges. We are studying the mechanisms for genome maintenance and thereby
fitness for survival in the world’s biggest bacterial killer.
Our analysis of surface structures and genome maintenance components and their
actions and interactions will provide new insight into bacterial pathogenesis and
virulence. In the long run this information will enable us to develop new strategies
for prevention and treatment of disease
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- Tonjum T, Seeberg E. (2001) Microbial fitness and genome dynamics. Trends
Microbiol. 9 (8), 356-358.
- Collins RF, Davidsen L, Derrick JP, Ford RC, Tonjum T. (2001) Analysis of the
PilQ secretin from Neisseria meningitidis by transmission electron microscopy
reveals a dodecameric quaternary structure. J Bacteriol. 183 (13), 3825-3832.
- Tonjum T, Caugant DA, Dunham SA, Koomey M. (1998) Structure and function of
repetitive sequence elements associated with a highly polymorphic domain of the
Neisseria meningitidis PilQ protein. Mol Microbiol. 29 (1), 111-124.
- Tonjum T, Koomey M. (1997) The pilus colonization factor of pathogenic
neisserial species: organelle biogenesis and structure/function relationships--a
review. Gene. 192 (1), 155-163.
Publication list for Dr.T.Tønjum from the US National
Library of Medicine (NLM) and PubMed.
(Last updated 2003-05-13 by SAF)