'Bacterial raincoat' found to protect bacteria from the environment

BslA protein droplet in oil. Pic: Keith Bromley and Laura Hobley.

A Scottish research team that includes the School's Prof. Cait McPhee and Postdoctoral Research Fellow Keith Bromley has uncovered the workings of a 'bacterial raincoat' that helps to protect bacteria from the changing environment in which they live.

The findings of the team, led by Dr Nicola Stanley-Wall and Professor Daan van Aalten from the College of Life Sciences at Dundee, are published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"Myself and Keith Bromley were responsible for measuring the interfacial properties of the protein, showing that it formed a robust film very quickly at an oil/water interface. The film it forms crumples like cellophane, and we can change how it partitions to the interface by mutating the protein, which gives us a lot of control. Our findings have implications for antibiotic resistance, and proteins like this have also found uses in industrial applications."

Prof Cait McPhee, of the School's Institute for Condensed Matter and Complex Systems (ICMCS)

Read the University of Dundee press release.