Maria Nikolova

Mechanism and structure of the PACE family of transport proteins

About me

My main areas of interest are protein biochemistry and structural biology which I developed during my Integrated Masters in Biochemistry at University of York. I explored these topics during my third year project with Prof Tony Wilkinson expressing a periplasmic binding protein which exerted its action through an ABC transporter in Rhodococcus equi. Further to that, I worked on two summer projects with Dr Alison Parkin in Chemistry and Dr Michael Plevin in Biology, working on expression, purification and assay development of YedY and MCM helicase respectively.

My project

I will be carrying out structural and functional studies on the Proteobacterial Antimicrobial Compound Efflux (PACE) family of proteins. Multidrug efflux transporters can be rapidly upregulated in pathogens in response to high concentrations of antimicrobials and extrude them out of the cell, conferring resistance. PACE proteins can be found in Gram negative bacteria (such as Acinetobacter, Pseudomonas spp.) and utilise the proton motive force to transport the biocides chlorhexidine, acriflavine, proflavine, benzalkonium and dequalinium among others.

My aim is to obtain a structure for one of the homologs which will inform the mechanism of these proteins and can lead to the design of potential inhibitors. I will also be doing transport assays to assess their function in terms of energetics, substrate selectivity, substrate affinities.


Twitter: @MNikol_ova