Grant recipient

Nicholas Taylor

Structure and Mechanism of a Contractile Nanoinjection System and its Redesign for Targeted Therapy

Nicholas Taylor says, “Certain bacteria secrete large protein machines that can specifically bind to eukaryotic cells and inject toxins inside of these cells. However, it is not known how these contractile injection systems are triggered and how they are able to transfer toxins across biological membranes. The great potential of these systems lies in their adaptation for targeted therapy: if one could change their specificity and the toxin protein they inject, it would in theory be possible to target, for example, only cancer cells, injecting a toxin that is known to be active in those cells. We will therefore try to understand these systems better at the fundamental biological level, using a combination of structural (cryoelectron microscopy), cell and molecular biology techniques. Further, we will take the first steps towards modifying these injection systems to inject cherry-picked effectors into cells of choice.”

Nicholas Taylor
Associate Professor and Group Leader, Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research
University of Copenhagen