Cell Shape Control:
    How do cells control their shape, using nanoscale proteins? What proteins are important and what do these proteins do?  In E. coli we know many of the proteins necessary for rod shape. However, the functions of these proteins are unknown. Because these proteins
colormodel 01 01are often essential it is difficult to determine their function. Using genetics and microscopy we aim to determine the function of many of these essential cell shape genes.




The Cytoskeleton and Physiology

   We have found that if you distrupt the MreB cytoskeleton chemotaxis is inhibited. This project has two main goals. The first is to determine what role MreB is playing in chemotaxis. The second goal is to seperate the role of MreB in cell shape control from its role in chemotaxis. We plan to do this by screening a mutant MreB library for both cell shape effects and motilty defects.

         Proteomics suggested that MreB interacts with different transcription factors depending on its polymerization state. We are currently performing RNA-seq on E. coli cells treated with different cell shape altering antibiotics to determine the global transcriptional affect of cell shape changes and/or MreB disruption. Check back later for updates on what we find.

A screen for mutants that are resistant to the MreB depolymerizing drug, A22, revealed that many genes involved in central carbon metabolism result in resistant cells. We hypothesize that when grown on amino acids (LB medium), increases in gluconeogenesis leads to resistance to MreB distruption by increasing the concentration of cell wall precursors. Metabalomics is currently being performed to determine the changes in cell wall intermediates in specific metabolic mutants compared to WT cells with and without A22. Stay tuned for updates.