Project Description

jorgen johansson umea university

Prof. Jörgen Johansson

Professor at Department of Molecular Biology,
Research group Jörgen Johansson,
Umea University

Research interests:
My research group is using the Gram-positive bacterial pathogen Listeria monocytogenes as a tool to understand bacterial perception and to develop novel types of antibacterial compounds. The work involves three main types of projects:

1. RNA-mediated virulence regulation
In this project, we are interested to understand how RNA control virulence gene-expression. We are mainly interested to understand the function of cis-acting 5´-untranslated RNAs such as riboswitches and thermosensors but also decipher the role played by RNA-helicases. For instance, we have identified that a terminated riboswitch can block translation of an mRNA controlled by a thermosensor (Loh et al., 2009). Also, recent data suggest that RNA-helicases are important for virulence but also participates in several other events in the bacterial cell (Netterling et al., 2015, Bäreclev et al., 2014).

2. Light-induced stress-regulation
We have identified a gene encoding a blue-light receptor to be important for various phenotypes, such as the formation of consolidation zones. The blue-light receptor is part of an intricate system of sigma-factor regulation through a large protein complex known as the stressosome (Tiensuu et al., 2013). Current studies try to molecularly understand how the blue-light receptor interacts with the stressosome.

3. Identification of RNA-dependent and independent antibacterial drugs
The activity of the main regulator of virulence in L. monocytogenes, PrfA, has recently been shown to be stimulated by glutathione (Hall et al., 2016). We have also identified small compounds able to block PrfA-activity and hence the ability of L. monocytogenes to cause infection (Good et al,. 2016).

molbiol research