(p)ppGpp is a widespread second messenger best known as alarmone that alerts the cell to starvation conditions and leads to major re-arrangements in bacterial physiology. However, the signaling molecule affects numerous other pathways (Figure adapted from Gaca et al., 2015, J. Bacteriol.), among them the growth-rate controlled proteolysis of LpxC, an essential enzyme for lipopolysaccharide biosynthesis.
The project addresses the question how proteolysis is coordinated by (p)ppGpp. In addition, we are establishing approaches to identify (p)ppGpp-binding proteins in E. coli. Overall, the project aims at providing new insights into the role of the second messenger in bacterial physiology.