Influence of E. coli Fec uptake system on fitness and infectivity characteristics.

Lead Research Organisation: Heriot-Watt University
Department Name: Sch of Engineering and Physical Science


"This is a PhD research project in Chemistry.

Genomic analysis of E. coli has shown that the Fec (ferric citrate) sensing-uptake system is strongly associated with capacity to cause mastitis in dairy cows. This observation ties in with increasing evidence for the significant contribution of nutrient sensing/acquisition systems in colonisation and infection of host species by E. coli and related Gram-negative bacteria. The regulation of the Fec system has been studied in detail in laboratory E. coli however its function in pathogenic E. coli has not been examined to date. In this project the aim is to assess the roles of different Fec genes using a range of phenotypic, proteomic and transcriptomic approaches. This will include determination of growth & survival of E. coli under a range of environmental conditions; characterisation of alterations to major surface components and investigation of selected infectivity-associated characteristics (particularly motility and chemotaxis) will also be assessed. The project will make a contribution to an ongoing project investigating mastitis-causing E. coli. "


10 25 50

Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/N509474/1 01/10/2016 30/09/2021
1974594 Studentship EP/N509474/1 01/09/2016 29/11/2020 Christopher Neil
Description 1) I have identified an array of gene products that are potentially coregulated with the Fec system in mammary pathogenic E. coli.

2) I have highlighted the importance of environmental oxygen in influencing the susceptibility of mammary pathogenic E. coli to novel antimicrobials that exploit iron uptake mechanisms, such as the Fec system.
Exploitation Route For the development of novel antimicrobials to specifically target mammary pathogenic E. coli that are responsible for causing mastitis in dairy cattle.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology