Characterization of Salmonella Type III effector: Host protein interactions and their contribution to immune evasion

Salmonella bacteria cause severe intestinal infection and diarrhea in humans. Millions of cases of Salmonella infection occur every year, predominantly in developing countries. However, salmonellosis is still a persistent problem in developed nations; young children, the elderly, and people with compromised immune systems are the most likely to have severe infections. Salmonella bacteria infect human cells and somehow manage to avoid activating the immune system from attacking them, allowing the bacteria to replicate. How these bacteria evade the host immune system response is poorly understood. Salmonella bacteria secrete proteins, called effectors, directly into the host cell through a needle-like channel. Dr. Amit Bhavsar is researching how these effectors bind to other host proteins in human cells; how the host proteins’ ability to function is affected; and how this enables Salmonella to evade the immune system. This research will result in a better understanding of how Salmonella bacteria evade the host immune system. It could also lead to new ways of restoring the immune system to fight infection, providing an alternative to conventional antibiotics, which have become less effective in the face of antibiotic resistance.