Khady Ouattara

Pharmaceutical Science

Area of Doctoral Study: Pharmaceutical Science
Undergraduate Institute: East Tennessee State University

Research Advisors: Mandy Oglesby, Ph.D

Description of Research

Iron is a nutrient needed for all living things, including bacteria. However, in an aerobic environment, iron can react with oxygen and create toxic superoxide radicals that can damage important cell components like DNA. To work around this issue, bacteria have evolved strategies to balance their need for iron while limiting its toxic effects. One of those ways is with a family of iron storage proteins called ferritins.

I am working on characterizing a novel protein called PA4880, in the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa. This protein is annotated as a bacterioferritin, a member of the ferritin family, that can do chemistry on ferrous iron and store its ferric form for subsequent cell usage. My goal is to identify what this unknown protein does in P. aeruginosa, since P. aeruginosa already has two other known ferritins encoded in its genome.