Dr Jonathan Shaw

BSc PhD

Department of Infection, Immunity and Cardiovascular Disease

Reader in Microbiology

j.g.shaw@sheffield.ac.uk
+44 114 215 9553

Full contact details

Dr Jonathan Shaw
Department of Infection, Immunity and Cardiovascular Disease
The Medical School
Beech Hill Road
Sheffield
S10 2RX
Profile

I am a Reader in Microbiology in the Department of Infection and Immunity. After finishing my PhD in 1991, I undertook two short post-doctoral positions in Sheffield and Canada before joining the Medical School in 1993 as an Independent Research Fellow.

Research interests

The major direction behind the research in my laboratory is the understanding of bacterial pathogenesis at a molecular and mechanistic level, in relation to colonisation factors, secreted products and physiology.


Current projects

Studies into the pathogenesis and physiology of the pathogenic Neisseria

Neisseria meningitidis is a major cause of bacterial meningitis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae is the causative agent of the sexually transmitted disease gonorrhoea. Although quite a lot is known about these organism's virulence factors, there is very little information available about these organism's carbon metabolism. We are investigating the growth and metabolic characteristics of the pathogenic Neisseria through the use of 13C-NMR and enzyme assays, with the emphasis on growth on lactate. This will enable us to find out what metabolic pathways the organism’s uses in CSF (in vivo) and find out if any unique enzymes are present which can be rationally targeted for antimicrobial therapy.

The role of these pathways in the organism’s pathogenesis are also being considered. We are also investigating the role of the lysine acetylation and investigating the role of the neisserial acetylome on antibiotic resistance and pathogenesis. These projects are in collaboration with Christoph Tang and Rachel Exley at Oxford University.

Use of Aeromonas species as model systems for bacterial colonisation, environmental adaptation and protein glycosylation

Aeromonas spp. are an increasingly important cause of gastro-enteritis and wound infections, with A. caviae being important in the causation of paediatric diarrhoea. However, there is little known about the pathogenicity determinants of this organism.

Some strains of Aeromonas express two distinct flagella systems, a polar flagellum for swimming in liquid environments and many lateral flagella for swarming over surfaces, both are involved in colonisation. Possession of two types of flagella provides a natural reporter system for investigating how bacteria sense surfaces, or for dissecting the bacterial sense of touch.

We are also interested in the genetic cross-talk between the flagellar systems and the type 3 secretion systems (T3SS). In addition to novel effector proteins secreted by the T3SS.

Aeromonas glycosylates its flagellum with the sugar pseudaminic acid, this is essential for flagellar filament assembly and motility. This sugar is also found on the flagellin proteins of Campylobacter jejuni and Helicobacter pylori. We are elucidating the flagellar glycosylation process at the molecular level. We are interested in developing sugar analogues to inhibit the glycosylation process that could possibly be used as a novel form of anti-microbial therapy. These projects are in collaboration with Graham Stafford of the Dental School, Simon Jones in Chemistry and the Universities of Barcelona and Tasmania.

Interactions of Burkholderia with eukaryotic cells

In collaboration with Dr M Thomas (Sheffield) we are using genetic means such as IVET and mutagenesis to investigate the mechanism of how Burkholderia interacts with host cells via its type VI secretion system.

Publications

Journal articles

Teaching interests

I am heavily involved in the M.Sc. in Molecular Medicine, M.Sc. Genomic Medicine, and I also teach on the Medicine, Dental, M.Sc Antimicrobial resistance and Orthoptics courses.

Professional activities

I was previously on the Prokaryotic Division of the Microbiology Society (UK) and on the editorial board of the journal Microbiology for eight years.

I am currently an associate editor for MicrobiologyOpen, Frontiers in Microbiology, Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology and the journal Virulence.