Dr Rebecca Corrigan
School of Biosciences
Senior Research Fellow
+44 114 222 4238
Full contact details
School of Biosciences
- 2018 - present: Lister Institute Fellowship, University of Sheffield
- 2015 – present: Royal Society/ Wellcome Trust Sir Henry Dale Research Fellow, University of Sheffield, UK
- 2008 – 2014: Postdoctoral Research Associate, Imperial College London, UK
- 2004 – 2008: PhD, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
- Research interests
My research involves an in-depth characterisation of nucleotide signalling systems in the Gram-positive pathogen Staphylococcus aureus. S. aureus is a human pathogen responsible for a vast array of disease and morbidity worldwide, a problem that is exacerbated by the spread of antibiotic-resistant strains such as methicillin resistant S. aureus (MRSA).
When this bacterium invades a human host it encounters a number of different stresses, such as nutrient limitation. The bacteria respond to these stresses by switching on a nucleotide signalling system called the stringent response.
This response results in the synthesis of two small nucleotides, collectively referred to as (p)ppGpp, which can be made in the cell by three different enzymes – RSH, RelP and RelQ. These nucleotides are the effectors of the stringent response and function by binding to target proteins leading to the bacterial cells shutting down active growth and entering a persistent state that promotes survival.
My previous research has led to the development of a genome-wide approach to analyse nucleotide-protein interactions. The current focus of the lab is on utilising this methodology, in conjunction with biochemical assays, to identify binding targets for (p)ppGpp in S. aureus in order to precisely map how these nucleotides function in a bacterial cell.
By mapping of the (p)ppGpp signalling network this research will provide key insights into the functioning of (p)ppGpp and so generate important mechanistic data on the pathogenesis of S. aureus.
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- Stringent response-mediated control of GTP homeostasis is required for long-term viability of staphylococcus aureus. Microbiology Spectrum.
- The stringent response and physiological roles of (pp)pGpp in bacteria. Nature Reviews Microbiology, 19(4), 256-271. View this article in WRRO
- The impact of the stringent response on TRAFAC GTPases and prokaryotic ribosome assembly. Cells, 8(11). View this article in WRRO
- The (p)ppGpp-binding GTPase Era promotes rRNA processing and cold adaptation in Staphylococcus aureus. PLOS Genetics, 15(8). View this article in WRRO
- Cyanophage MazG is a pyrophosphohydrolase but unable to hydrolyse magic spot nucleotides. Environmental Microbiology Reports. View this article in WRRO
- Triggering the stringent response: signals responsible for activating (p)ppGpp synthesis in bacteria. Microbiology, 164(3), 268-276. View this article in WRRO
- The second messenger c-di-AMP inhibits the osmolyte uptake system OpuC in Staphylococcus aureus. Science Signaling, 9(441). View this article in WRRO
- ppGpp negatively impacts ribosome assembly affecting growth and antimicrobial tolerance in Gram-positive bacteria. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 113(12), E1710-E1719. View this article in WRRO
- Cross-talk between Two Nucleotide-signaling Pathways in Staphylococcus aureus. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 290(9), 5826-5839. View this article in WRRO
- Differential localization of LTA synthesis proteins and their interaction with the cell division machinery in Staphylococcus aureus. Molecular Microbiology, 92(2), 273-286. View this article in WRRO
- Cyclic di-AMP: another second messenger enters the fray. Nature Reviews Microbiology, 11(8), 513-524.
- Systematic identification of conserved bacterial c-di-AMP receptor proteins. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 110(22), 9084-9089. View this article in WRRO
- The immune evasion protein Sbi of Staphylococcus aureus occurs both extracellularly and anchored to the cell envelope by binding lipoteichoic acid. Molecular Microbiology, 83(4), 789-804. View this article in WRRO
- Wall Teichoic Acid-Dependent Adsorption of Staphylococcal Siphovirus and Myovirus. Journal of Bacteriology, 193(15), 4006-4009.
- Enzymatic activities and functional interdependencies of Bacillus subtilis lipoteichoic acid synthesis enzymes. Molecular Microbiology, 79(3), 566-583. View this article in WRRO
- Role of Surface Protein SasG in Biofilm Formation by Staphylococcus aureus. Journal of Bacteriology, 192(21), 5663-5673.
- An improved tetracycline-inducible expression vector for Staphylococcus aureus. Plasmid, 61(2), 126-129.
- Surface proteins that promote adherence of Staphylococcus aureus to human desquamated nasal epithelial cells. BMC Microbiology, 9(1), 22-22. View this article in WRRO
- agr function in clinical Staphylococcus aureus isolates. Microbiology, 154(8), 2265-2274.
- The role of Staphylococcus aureus surface protein SasG in adherence and biofilm formation. Microbiology, 153(8), 2435-2446.
- The agr Radiation: an Early Event in the Evolution of Staphylococci. Journal of Bacteriology, 187(16), 5585-5594.
- Purine Nucleosides Interfere with c-di-AMP Levels and Act as Adjuvants To Re-Sensitize MRSA To β-Lactam Antibiotics. mBio.
- c-di-AMP Is a New Second Messenger in Staphylococcus aureus with a Role in Controlling Cell Size and Envelope Stress. PLoS Pathogens, 7(9), e1002217-e1002217. View this article in WRRO
- The Stringent Response Inhibits 70S Ribosome Formation in Staphylococcus aureus by Impeding GTPase-Ribosome Interactions. mBio.
Conference proceedings papers
- The (p)ppGpp-binding GTPase Era promotes rRNA processing and cold adaptation in Staphylococcus aureus. Access Microbiology, Vol. 2(1). Dublin, Ireland, 24 October 2019 - 25 October 2019. View this article in WRRO
- Research group
Funded PhD studentships will be advertised here as they become available but well qualified graduates, including those intending to self fund, should contact me directly to discuss possible projects.
Examples of potential projects could include the molecular characterisation of a nucleotide-protein interaction in vitro and the elucidation of the importance of this interaction for bacterial virulence in vivo.
You can apply for a PhD position in MBB here.
Postdocs who wish to apply for a fellowship to join the group are more than welcome. Please contact me directly to discuss potential projects.
Project students and internships
Students wishing to apply for summer internships are welcome and should send a CV describing their motivations and interests.
- Teaching activities
Level 1 modules
Level 2 modules
MBB267 Genes, genomes and chromosomes
Level 3 modules
MBB323 Microbial Structure and Dynamics: Genes and Populations
Level 4 modules
MBB409 Infectious Disease and Antimicrobials