(Head of Laboratory)
Biochemistry of the surface bacterial proteins as vaccine candidates
Our research focuses on Staphylococcus and Streptococcus species, both important cause of invasive infection in humans. Especially, methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) causes significant morbidity and mortality and new therapeutic approaches are urgently needed. Our group is studying the virulence factors that allow the bacteria to successfully colonise and infect the human host. Our approach involves the biochemical analysis of the surface associated bacterial proteins in order to identify new targets for the treatment and prevention of both Staphylococcus and Streptococcus infections. This research requires a wide technological approach that includes:
(i) techniques necessary for basic protein biochemistry, production of recombinant proteins and their chemical characterization;
(ii) monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies generation potentially able to neutralize the targeted virulence factors;
(iii) animal models of infection for validation of the vicinal role of selected bacterial proteins or of the relative antibodies.
Through this approach our laboratory was able in last few years to elucidate the biological role of bacterial proteins with unknown function, clarifying the pathogenic mechanism that underlies their ability to evade the immune system.
The Group B Streptococcus−Secreted protein CIP interacts with C4, preventing C3b deposition via the lectin and classical this information is current as complement pathways. G Pietrocola, S Rindi, R Rosini, S Buccato, P Speziale and I Margarit. J Immunol 196: 385-394 (2016).
Mechanical Strength and Inhibition of the Staphylococcus aureus Collagen-Binding Protein Cna. P Herman-Bausier, Cl Valottea, G Pietrocola, S Rindi, D Alsteens, TJ Foster, P Speziale and YF Dufrênea. mBio 7(5):e01529-16. doi:10.1128/mBio.01529-16.
Molecular Interactions of Human Plasminogen with Fibronectin-binding Protein B (FnBPB), a Fibrinogen/Fibronectin-binding Protein from Staphylococcus aureus. G Pietrocola, G Nobile, V Gianotti, M Zapotoczna, TJ Foster, JA Geoghegan and P Speziale. J biol Chem 291:18148–62 (2016)