Elisa Venturini     email
Institute for Molecular Infection Biology

Prof. Dr. Jörg Vogel (Würzburg)
Promotion Committee:
Prof. Dr. Jörg Vogel (Würzburg)
Prof. Dr. Cynthia Sharma (Würzburg)
PD Dr. Wilma Ziebuhr (Würzburg)
Prof. Dr. Kai Papenfort (München)

Characterization of small proteins in E. coli and Salmonella Typhimurium

Small proteins have been underrepresented since the beginning of whole-genome annotation era, as their size makes both their prediction and investigation with standard biochemical approaches challenging. Information regarding their presence has been slowly building up in the recent years, and functional characterization demonstrated that they play important roles in diverse cellular processes. They can regulate translation, protein complexes activity, stress response and much more.

The Gram-negative bacteria E. coli and Salmonella Typhimurium are two well-established model organisms. While the first is probably the best characterized non-pathogenic bacterium, the other is a model for host-pathogen interaction. In both cases, small proteins shorter than 100 aa account for approximately 10 % of the currently annotated proteome. More than half of these are presently uncharacterized.

The aim of my PhD project is the investigation of uncharacterized small proteins, defined as shorter than 60 aa, in Salmonella and E. coli. The identification of interesting candidates is based on global datasets available in the Vogel lab, that inform on the possible involvement of small proteins in complexes, and on their regulation during - and requirement for - the infection process. This characterization will allow to gain insights into the role small proteins play in bacterial physiology and pathogenesis.