The Mobley Research Laboratory is interested in the mechanisms of microbial pathogenesis of urinary tract infection. For “uncomplicated” UTI, E. coli is the predominant pathogen causing more than 80% of infections in immunocompetent individuals. In “complicated” urinary tract infections, such as catheter-associated bacteriuria, a distinct group of bacterial genera colonize the urinary tract including Proteus mirabilis, Providencia stuartii and Morganella morganii. Our lab uses molecular genetic approaches to identify virulence determinants for these organisms as well as immunogenic proteins that may represent candidates for use in vaccines to prevent uncomplicated and complicated urinary tract infection.
In addition, our lab studies the gastric pathogen, Helicobacter pylori, an agent of peptic ulceration in humans. For this organism, our focus is on the production of a catalytically active urease. Production of an active enzyme requires transport of nickel ions from the external milieu across both the inner and outer membranes followed by incorporation into the urease APO enzyme.