The Univeristy of Melbourne The Royal Melbourne Hopspital

A joint venture between The University of Melbourne and The Royal Melbourne Hospital


Research Projects

Project: Deciphering the role of important Coxiella effector proteins

Newton Group

Coxiella burnetii, the causative agent of Q fever, creates a unique replicative niche by modifying the human lysosome. In order to do this Coxiella relies on a Dot/Icm secretion system to deliver over 150 novel effector proteins into the human host cell.  Collectively these proteins manipulate the host cell to create an expansive replicative niche and suppress an antimicrobial host response to infection. We have discovered that many of these effectors make vital contributions to the intracellular replication of Coxiella but we do not know how they achieve this. These projects will use protein biochemistry, microbiology, infection models and microscopy to uncover the functional role of important Dot/Icm effectors during Coxiella infection.

The large Coxiella-containing vacuole supports intracellular replication of Coxiella (red) in human host cells. Green depicts a human protein that is manipulated by Coxiella effectors to allow Coxiella success.

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Project Supervisor

Dr Hayley Newton

Project availability

Newton Group

2 vacancies

Host Pathogens Interactions
Cross Cutting Disciplines
Discovery Research

The Newton group uses a range of molecular and cell biology approaches to investigate the host-pathogen interactions that occur during infection with intracellular bacterial pathogens. Studies are particularly focused on the causative agent of Q fever, Coxiella burnetii, which uses a large cohort of novel effector proteins to convert the normally bactericidal lysosome into an efficient replicative niche. Understanding the function of these important effector proteins will shed light on both the pathogenesis of Coxiella and important human cellular processes.