Christoph Tang

Bacterial pathogenesis: molecular mechanisms to prevention

Human bacterial pathogens are a specialized subset of the array microbes we encounter as part of our flora. The group seeks to understand the basis of how pathogens colonise specific niches in the body, evade elimination by the immune system, and cause disease. We study Neisseria spp., which are leading causes of bacterial meningitis and gonorrhoea, and enteric pathogens, such as Shigella spp.. Many of these pathogens possess plasmids which confer virulence and/or resistance, and we are now defining mechanisms that promote plasmid maintenance. For example, we have defined the repertoire of toxin:antitoxin (TA) systems in the Shigella virulence plasmid, and distribution of resistance plasmids in the gonococcus.

S. flexneri virulence plasmid (pINV) maintenance systems are temperature dependent

Scanning electron microscopy of mixed Neisseria microcolonies on epithelial cells

Distribution of blaTEM alleles and comparison of pbla plasmids in Neisseria gonorrhoeae

Understanding fundamental aspects of plasmid biology should allow use to design interventions to eliminate virulence/resistance. We also continue to develop vaccines against these important pathogens.

Relevant Publications

Lawarée E, Jankevicius G, Cooper C, Ahel I, Uphoff S, Tang CM.

Cell Rep. 30(5): 1373-1384.e4

Cehovin A, Harrison OB, Lewis SB, Ward PN, Ngetsa C, Graham SM, Sanders EJ, Maiden MCJ, Tang CM.

J Infect Dis. 218(5): 801-808. 

Hollingshead S, Jongerius I, Exley RM, Johnson S, Lea SM, Tang CM.

Nat Commun. 9: 1051

Loh E., Kugelberg E., Tracy A., Zhang Q., Gollan B., Ewles H., Chalmers R., Pelicic V., Tang C.M

Nature 502: 237-40.

Christoph Tang

Research Areas