Caroline Pearson

The biological role and structure functio analyses of 0-antigen modifying enzymes in the bacterial pathogen Salmonella

I graduated from the University of York with a BSc in Biology in 2015 and stayed in York to do my PhD supervised by Dr Marjan van der Woude and Dr Gavin Thomas. My research focuses on determining the mechanism of action of predicted O‑antigen acetyltransferases in Salmonella, which are responsible for adding acetyl groups to different sugar residues of the lipopolysaccharide (LPS) O-antigen.

As the O-antigen is the outermost component of LPS, which is an abundant component of the outer membrane of Salmonella, it is most exposed to the host immune system. Therefore, the ability of Salmonella to alter O-antigen structure by addition of acetyl groups can contribute to evasion of host immunity. Understanding the biological process of acetyl group transport and its addition onto the LPS O‑antigen could allow manipulation of this system to create a repertoire of possibilities for biotechnology, industrial processes or in disease control