Associate Professor in Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics at Umeå University
Membership period 2019–2024
Horizontal DNA transfer means that genes are transferred from one bacterium to another. It can be done through a process called bacterial conjugation. The genetic material transferred can contain different types of genes, especially relevant from a medical point of view, DNAs that contain genes for antibiotic resistance and virulence factors. It is through these processes that bacteria get antibiotic resistance and become multi-resistant. One of the most important systems for bacterial conjugation is the so-called Type 4 secretion system (T4SS), which my research group studies. We use X-ray crystallography and electron microscopy to obtain high-resolution information about the structure of T4SS, as well as a lot of biochemical and molecular biology methods to understand the mechanisms of DNA transfer via T4SS. This is very relevant both from a basic research perspective and from a medical perspective. A better understanding of T4SS from gram-positive bacteria can hopefully contribute to the development of new drugs against these bacteria.
Ronnie Berntsson. Photo: 1o. 2. Erik Thor/Young Academy of Sweden 3. Josy TerBeek (Click to enlarge.)