The research in Dr. Traxler's laboratory focuses on the genetic and biochemical analysis of protein folding and function and transfer of genetic information in Gram negative bacteria. One interest of the lab focuses on the processing of DNA and on membrane-based events during bacterial conjugation. Conjugation is an efficient way to transfer genetic information across multiple membrane compartments among prokaryotes and accounts for the dissemination of many antibiotic resistance determinants among pathogens. The analysis exploits the Type IV secretion system of the F plasmid of E. coli as a model and aims to characterize the mechanism of DNA processing and DNA transfer through the cell envelope during conjugation, using a variety of genetic, biochemical, and cell biological tools. Recent work includes visualization of the DNA transfer process and the conjugation machinery in live cells with fluorescent protein and DNA tagging.
The lab has been involved in protein engineering for nanotechnology. Different proteins have been modified by the addition of polypeptide sequences that bind to various inorganic compounds. These modified proteins can be used in diverse ways. For example, metal nanoparticles can be arranged in predictable structures, based on the self-assembly properties of the substrate proteins, such as using different DNA binding proteins to organize nanoparticles along a DNA guide. In addition, the lab has recently demonstrated a novel form of compartment-specific biomineralization of E. coli, expressing an engineered silver binding protein. Continuing projects explore the use of metal binding proteins for targeted biomineralization and metal detoxification.
Copyright © 2003-2014 Molecular & Cellular Biology Program, University of Washington
Fred Hutch | University of Washington
Institute for Systems Biology (ISB)| Center for Infectious Disease Research