Alejandro P. Heuck
Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Massachusetts
Ph.D. : University of Buenos Aires, Argentina Postdoctoral training : Texas A&M University
Assembly of the Type III secretion translocon in membranes. Several pathogenic bacteria including Yersina ssp., Salmonella ssp., enterophatogenic E. coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Shigella flexneri, etc., inject proteins directly into the eukaryotic cell cytoplasm to interfere with and to alter host processes. These proteins are presumably injected through the eukaryotic cell membrane via a proteinaceous transmembrane channel known as translocon, which is of bacterial origin. The translocons are thought to be transmembrane protein complexes consisting of several components. Our goal is to understand, at a molecular level, the assembly mechanism of the Type III secretion translocon into the target cell membrane. We employ a variety of biophysical, biochemical, and molecular biological approaches to study protein structure, protein-membrane and protein-protein interactions.