Exploring the cell envelope of Escherichia coli, a compartment that is an attractive target for innovative biotechnological and biopharmaceutical approaches.
antibiotic resistance • bacteriology • cell envelope
Jean-François Collet is professor at the Université catholique de Louvain. His work at the de Duve Institute aims to understand how bacterial cells defend themselves against external aggressions, in order to improve our ability to combat them. He studies, in particular, two types of stress: oxidative stress (e.g. by bleach) and envelope stress. His research is based primarily on Escherichia Coli, a Gram-negative bacteria. Gram-negative bacteria are characterised by a double membrane. The outer membrane is separated from the inner membrane by the periplasm, which contains a polymer named proteoglycan.
This project aims to understand how Gram-negative bacteria assemble their envelope, detect their envelope is damaged and respond to this stress. Jean-François Collet has already shown, in particular during his previous WELBIO projects, several mechanisms involved in these processes The expertise he developed, and the preliminary data and the molecular tools established, will now enable the resolution of two major mysteries: the physiological importance of the connection between the outer membrane and the peptidoglycan andthe mechanism that allows lipoproteins to cross the outer membrane. This research will serve as a foundation for the identification of new antibiotics, as well as the engineering of optimised bacteria strains for protein and DNA production.