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American Society for Microbiology honors Hans Wolf-Watz

American Society for Microbiology

The 2010 American Society for Microbiology (ASM) GlaxoSmithKline International ASM Member of the Year Award is presented to Hans Wolf-Watz, Ph.D., Professor, Umeå University, Sweden, for his seminal work in the elucidation of the host-pathogen interaction of Yersinia, as well as his international collaborations, which have resulted in fundamental progress in the field. This award recognizes a distinguished microbiologist who has exhibited exemplary leadership in the international microbiological community.

The human pathogenic Yersinia species (Y. pestis, Y. pseudotuberculosis, and Y. enterocolitica) have in common a large plasmid, which is essential for their virulence. This plasmid, which is called pYV, encodes major virulence determinants including a type III protein secretion system (TTSS). Wolf-Watz was the first to propose that TTSSs are unique in their ability to inject proteins into their host cells. His proposal was based on his observation that Yersinia outer proteins (Yop) delivery into cells required bacterial contact and specific proteins. The proteins were not required for Yop secretion but were required for their injection into host cells. This seminal finding has been critical to the understanding of the biology of host-pathogen interaction of many bacteria.

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The GlaxoSmithKline International ASM Member of the Year Award will be presented during the 110th General Meeting of the ASM, May 23-27, 2010 in San Diego, 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 and economic and environmental well-being.

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