Ms Nikki Miguel
I am currently busy with my MSc Microbiology under the supervision of Prof. Lucy Moleleki, as part of the Bacterial Genomics and Plant Pathogen Interactions Group. We focus our studies on the soft rot Enterobacteriaceae, Pectobacterium carotovorum subsp. brasiliense (Pcb). Pcb has been recently identified in South Africa and is found in most potato growing regions. Furthermore, Pcb is more aggressive than and able to out compete other Pectobacterium spp. in co-culture.
The Type VI protein secretion system (T6SS) is able to mediate host-pathogen interactions as well as interbacterial competition. It is hypothesised that the T6SS is a contributor towards the aggression of Pcb against other species. Therefore, my research entails identifying and characterising antibacterial effectors secreted by the T6SS. As T6SSs are also implicated in virulence in plants, the role of the T6SS in Pcb in plants will be explored.