Public Release: 

American Society for Microbiology honors Angelika Gruendling for work on lipoteichoic acids

American Society for Microbiology

The 2009 American Society for Microbiology (ASM) ICAAC Young Investigator Award will be presented to Angelika Gründling, Assistant Professor, Imperial College London. Sponsored by the ASM, this award recognizes early career scientists for research excellence in microbiology and infectious diseases.

Dr. Gründling's initial work focused on how the lambda holin, protein S, sits in the membrane and how S monomers interact. She constructed a library of single-Cys mutants and performed chemical modifications on membrane preparations containing the variant S proteins while looking for protected domains to define the transmembrane domains of the holin. Dr. Gründling showed that the S protein has three TM domains.

Holins accumulate in the membrane during the infective cycle and as they accumulate, there is an increasing drainage of protons across the bilayer. At some point in time, the cell's ability to resist drainage is exceeded and the potential collapses. This allows concerted hole formation by all the holins in the membrane. Dr. Gründling researched the proportionality between motility and the membrane potential to see if holins were timed by this mechanism. Her work resulted in the filming of bacteria swimming and suddenly stopping and exploding with no hint of a decreased motility leading up to lysis. It was evidence that holins do not titrate out the membrane potential but rather, have no effect on the energization of the membrane until the holes are formed.

Gründling received both her B.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Vienna, Austria, and completed postdoctoral training at the Harvard Medical School and the University of Chicago.

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The ICAAC Young Investigator Award will be presented during ASM's 49th Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, September 12-15, 2009 in San Francisco, CA. ASM is the world's oldest and largest life science organization and has more than 43,000 members worldwide. ASM's mission is to advance the microbiological sciences and promote the use of scientific knowledge for improved health, economic, and environmental well-being.

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