Visualising and predicting pathogen/host protein interactions

Pathogens suppress host immunity by targeting a range of secreted proteins, pathogenicity effectors, to the cytoplasm of host cells. These effectors, once they have traversed the host plasma-membrane, are targeted to many subcellular locations where they disrupt the host immune system to enable pathogen growth and reproduction. We have used the technique of matrix yeast two hybrid to identify the host targets of 200 pathogenicity effectors. This has revealed a complex and highly interconnected interaction network.

We now wish to develop novel ways of visualising this network taking into account the subcellular localization of the proteins and the physiological nature of the proteins in the interactions to gain a better insight into interactions occurring in vivo. We will also use visualisation tools to understand the protein domains involved in specific interactions including their 3D shape to reveal the nature of those interactions, predict additional interaction targets of pathogenicity effectors and reveal protein domains key to the suppression of host immunity. This project will combine theoretical approaches (visualization and protein interaction prediction) and experimental work (validating predictions).