Lotta Happonen

Lotta Happonen

Associate Researcher

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Research

My main research interest is to explore structural and molecular level mechanism of host-pathogen interactions during an infection, and how pathogens use defined virulence determinants to target central components of the host’s immune system.    

My research is focused on newly identified Streptococcus pyogenes virulence determinants and their interactions with human host proteins, with the overall aim to gain a deeper understanding of the transition from mild to severe and invasive streptococcal disease. The main methods I apply include • affinity-purification combined with state-of-the-art quantitative mass spectrometry (AP-MS) • structural mass spectrometry, namely targeted crosslinking (TX-MS) and hydrogen-deuterium exchange (HDX-MS) mass spectrometry • single-particle cryoEM and X-ray crystallography.

The research problems addressed are fundamental questions in medical microbiology and infection medicine. Identification and description of host-pathogen protein-protein interaction interfaces as potential sites for therapeutic intervention and drug development will have an important role in combatting pathogen mediated diseases. Importantly, knowledge about host-pathogen protein-protein interactions occurring during the infection cycle and high-resolution structural data on the formed complexes is often a prerequisite for drug and vaccine development.

UKÄ subject classification

  • Infectious Medicine
  • Structural Biology
  • Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

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