Jonathan Lenz

Position title: 2014-2015

Research Focus: Neisseria gonorrhoeae is a strict human pathogen that carries a streamlined complement of enzymes for modifying and recycling its peptidoglycan layer during normal growth and division. This simplicity make the gonococcus an excellent model organism for studying peptidoglycan biochemistry and the study of these mechanisms has direct implications for understanding the pathology of gonorrhea, since released fragments of peptidoglycan play an important role in the damage seen during infection. My research spans the mechanisms by which fragments of peptidoglycan are generated by Neisseria gonorrhoeae during growth, how these fragments are liberated or packaged into vesicles by the bacterium, how peptidoglycan is delivered to host cells, and ultimately how this bacterial product is sensed by human hosts to cause inflammation, cell death and disease.