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With a long-term research interest in staphylococcal physiology and pathogenesis, our lab focuses on studying the cell envelope of Staphylococcus aureus. S. aureus is one of the most important pathogenic bacteria, responsible of causing various infections such as skin and soft tissue infections, pneumonia, endocarditis, osteomyelitis and life-threatening sepsis. To be such a successful pathogen, S. aureus is capable of producing and secreting an arsenal of virulence factors. Most of these virulence factors are secreted or cell wall anchored surface proteins. Our lab studies the secretion and localization of some of these proteins that contain the YSIRK/G-S signal peptides. Proteins with YSIRK/G-S signal peptides are secreted at the septa where staphylococcal cells divide, and are deposited into the cross wall during cell division. Upon cell separation, proteins with YSIRK/G-S signal peptides are distributed over the bacterial surface and fulfills many different virulence functions. Currently, we are investigating the mechanisms supporting septal trafficking of YSIRK/G-S proteins in S. aureus. The understanding of how these proteins are secreted will form the basis for developing novel therapeutics to combat staphylococcal infections.

                trafficking of YSIRK/G-S proteins in S aureus

2019 Wenqi Yu, Rocky D. Bull and USF