Bacterial sialic acid metabolism.

Sialic acids are one of the most important carbohydrate classes in biology: they are the terminal structures found on most glycoconjugates, including those on the surface of mammalian cells, and are the first point of interaction with carbohydrate binding proteins and receptors. Critically, they are also the first recognition point for host-pathogen interactions, as well as an important carbon, nitrogen and energy source for these pathogens. This exciting programme is aims to delineate at the molecular level how bacterial pathogens transport sialic acids into the cell, how the enzymes of the pathway function, and how the pathway is regulated. We are studying the sialic acid pathway in pathogens to inform drug design, develop powerful biocatalysts and build a fundamental understanding of the frontier problems in sialobiology: bacterial sialic acid import and pathway regulation.