Funding body: Spanish Ministry of Economy
Pseudonym: BFU2014-55601-P
Title: Regulation of cellular processes in FMMs of Staphylococcus aureus

Membranes of eukaryotic cells organize signal transduction proteins into microdomains or lipid rafts whose integrity is extremely important for the functionality of numerous cellular processes. However, we recently discovered that bacteria organize many cellular processes into Functional Membrane Microdomains (FMMs) that are structurally and functionally similar to the lipid rafts of eukaryotic cells. In this line of research, we are interested in unraveling the molecular mechanisms whereby FMMs are functionally linked to the activity of several cellular processes that we know are physically associated with FMMs. To carry out these experiments, we use the nosocomial pathogen Staphylococcus aureus as working model to elucidate the molecular components and the interactions responsible for the functionality of FMMs and the functionality of the cellular processes associated. Furthermore, we pursue to unravel the molecular basis that links the integrity of FMMs with the functionality of the membrane-bound cellular processes. To achieve these goals, we use a combination of conventional techniques in cellular biology with cutting-edge techniques in cell imaging and microscopy. The completion of this project will clarify key aspects of staphylococcal infections, a pathogen that causes hard-to-treat infections in hospital settings and, with a mortality of 20% of infected patients, is currently the most dreadful infective agent in modern societies, above HIV