Dr Victoria Pederick

Victoria Pederick
Research Associate
School of Biological Sciences
Faculty of Sciences

Dr. Pederick is a postdoctoral research within the Research Centre for Infectious Diseases, where she is working to characterise the molecular mechanisms of zinc acquisition in bacterial pathogens.

Dr Victoria Pederick

Dr. Pederick is a postdoctoral research within the Research Centre for Infectious Diseases, where she is working to characterise the molecular mechanisms of zinc acquisition in bacterial pathogens.

Metals ions are essential for bacterial growth, serving structural and catalytic roles in the cell. However, in excess, they also exert significant toxicity, necessitating the strict control of their acquisition. Metalloproteomic analyses indicate that at least 6% of all bacterial proteins require the transition metal ion, zinc [Zn(II)]. Due to the importance of Zn(II) for bacteria, the human immune system manipulates the bioavailability of the metal ion to limit or prevent bacterial infections. To overcome the reduced Zn(II) bioavailability, bacteria utilise high affinity membrane transporters to satisfy their metal ion requirement. My research focuses on the Zn(II) acquisition pathways employed by the human pathogens Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Streptococcus pneumoniae.

 

1. Zinc acquisition in Streptococcus pneumoniae
Streptococcus pneumoniae (the pneumococcus) is a globally significant human pathogen, responsible for a broad range of diseases including pneumonia, meningitis, bacteremia and otitis media. Within the pneumococcus, Zn(II) is the second most abundant transition metal ion. To acquire Zn(II), the bacterium utilises an ATP-binding cassette importer, AdcBC, and two high affinity Zn(II)-specific solute-binding proteins, AdcA and AdcAII, for transport of the metal ion across the membrane. In response to Zn(II) limitation, adcAII is significantly up-regulated, together with its co-transcribed gene, phtD. PhtD is one of four highly conserved polyhistidine triad (Pht) proteins (PhtA, PhtB, PhtD and PhtE), which are present in the cell wall of the pneumococcus. Each protein features 5 or 6 histidine triad motifs (HXXHXH) that are predicted to bind Zn(II) ions. Zinc acquisition by AdcAII under Zn(II)-limiting conditions has been shown to be dependent on the Pht proteins, with the four Pht proteins sharing overlapping functionality. Further research is required to better understand the role of each of these proteins in pneumococcal Zn(II) acquisition.

 

2. Characterisation of novel zinc acquisition mechanisms in Pseudomonas aeruginosa
Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections are the leading cause of death and disease in children with cystic fibrosis (CF). Within the CF lung, much of the Zn(II) is bound by the human protein calprotectin to prevent bacterial colonisation. To overcome this, P. aeruginosa is predicted to utilise multiple import mechanisms to scavenge Zn(II). My recent study characterising the ZnuABC importer from P. aeruginosa revealed it to hold a major role in Zn(II) acquisition, with a mutant strain lacking the znuA gene exhibiting an ~60% reduction in cellular Zn(II) content. RNA sequencing analysis of this strain identified a number of additional, previously uncharacterised acquisition systems which likely contribute to Zn(II) acquisition by the bacterium. Together my research is seeking to better understand the role and relative contribution of these putative transport systems to P. aeruginosa Zn(II) acquisition.

Appointments

Date Position Institution name
2015 Research Associate The University of Adelaide

Awards and Achievements

Date Type Title Institution Name Amount
2016 Award Travel Grant UK Biochemical Society £650
2013 Award Student Poster Prize Australian Society for Microbiology
2012 Award Student Poster Prize Adelaide Protein Group
2012 Award PXE Student Conference Fellowship FEBS-ABC 2012
2012 Award Oral Presentation Prize School of Molecular and Biomedical Sciences Postgraduate Symposium
2011 - 2014 Scholarship Australian Postgraduate Award The University of Adelaide
2011 - 2013 Scholarship Postgraduate Studentship Award Australian Cystic Fibrosis Research Trust
2009 Award Summer Research Scholarship Cancer Council of South Australia

Education

Date Institution name Country Title
2011 - 2013 The University of Adelaide Australia PhD
2010 The University of Adelaide Australia B. Sci. (Honours in Microbiology and Immunology)
2007 - 2009 The University of Adelaide Australia B. Sci. (Molecular Biology)

Research Interests

Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Medical Microbiology, Microbiology, Transition Metal Chemistry

Journals

Year Citation
2017 Hassan, K., Pederick, V., Elbourne, L., Paulsen, I., Paton, J., McDevitt, C. & Eijkelkamp, B. (2017). Zinc stress induces copper depletion in Acinetobacter baumannii. BMC Microbiology, 17, 1, 59-1-59-15.
10.1186/s12866-017-0965-y
2015 Pederick, V., Eijkelkamp, B., Begg, S., Ween, M., McAllister, L., Paton, J. & McDevitt, C. (2015). ZnuA and zinc homeostasis in pseudomonas aeruginosa. Scientific Reports, 5, 1, 13139-1-13139-14.
10.1038/srep13139
2015 Eijkelkamp, B., Pederick, V., Plumptre, C., Harvey, R., Hughes, C., Paton, J. & McDevitt, C. (2015). The first histidine triad motif of PhtD is critical for zinc homeostasis in Streptococcus pneumoniae. A. Camilli (Ed.). Infection and Immunity, 84, 2, 407-415.
10.1128/IAI.01082-15
2014 Pederick, V., Eijkelkamp, B., Ween, M., Begg, S., Paton, J. & McDevitt, C. (2014). Acquisition and role of molybdate in Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 80, 21, 6843-6852.
10.1128/aem.02465-14
2012 Pederick, V., Ween, M. & McDevitt, C. (2012). The role of ATP-binding cassette transporters in bacterial pathogenicity. Protoplasma, 249, 4, 919-942.
10.1007/s00709-011-0360-8

Conference Items

Year Citation
2016 Pederick, V. G., Eijkelkamp, B. A., Plumptre, C. D., Harvey, R. M., Hughes, C. E., Morey, J. R. ... McDevitt, C. A. (2016). The role of Pht proteins in pneumococcal zinc acquisition. BioMetals 2016. Dresden, Germany.
2015 Pederick, V. G., Eijkelkamp, B. A., Begg, S. L., Ween, M. P., McAllister, L. J., Paton, J. C. & McDevitt, C. A. (2015). ZnuA and zinc homeostasis in Pseudomonas aeruginosa. BacPath 13: Molecular Analysis of Bacterial Pathogens Conference 2015. Phillip Island, VIC.
2015 Pederick, V. G., Begg, S. L., eijkelkamp, B. A., ween, M. P., Paton, J. C. & McDevitt, C. A. (2015). Metal uptake transporters – a microbial Achilles heel. An exchange workshop on antimicrobial resistance. UniSA.
2013 Pederick, V. G., Eijkelkamp, B. A., Ween, M. P., Begg, S. L., Paton, J. C. & McDevitt, C. A. (2013). The role of molybdenum in Pseudomonas aeruginosa persistence. School of Molecular and Biomedical Sciences 3-Minute Thesis competition.
2012 Pederick, V. G., Paton, J. C. & McDevitt, C. A. (2012). Characterisation of a Type I Secretion system from Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Australian Society for Microbiology Scientific Meeting.
2012 Pederick, V. G., Paton, J. C. & McDevitt, C. A. (2012). Characterisation of a Type I Secretion system from Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Australian Society for Microbiology BD Student Award.
2012 Pederick, V. G., Paton, J. C. & McDevitt, C. A. (2012). Characterisation of a Type I Secretion system from Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Membrane Transporters Workshop.
2012 Pederick, V. G., Paton, J. C. & McDevitt, C. A. (2012). Characterisation of a Type I Secretion system from Pseudomonas aeruginosa. ASBMB ComBio.
2012 Pederick, V. G., Paton, J. C. & McDevitt, C. A. (2012). The need to breathe: stopping bacterial colonization in cystic fibrosis. School of Molecular and Biomedical Sciences Postgraduate Symposium.
2012 Pederick, V. G., Paton, J. C. & McDevitt, C. A. (2012). The need to breathe: stopping bacterial colonization in cystic fibrosis. Faculty of Sciences 3-Minute Thesis competition.
2012 Pederick, V. G., Paton, J. C. & McDevitt, C. A. (2012). Characterisation of a Type I secretion system from Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Adelaide Protein Group.
2012 Pederick, V. G., Paton, J. C. & McDevitt, C. A. (2012). Characterisation of a Type I secretion system from Pseudomonas aeruginosa. ABC2012 – 4th FEBS Special Meeting on ABC Proteins.
2011 Pederick, V. G., Ween, M. P., Paton, J. C. & McDevitt, C. A. (2011). Biochemical characterisation of PA1876, a novel Pseudomonas aeruginosa multidrug ATP-binding cassette transporter. Australian Society for Medical Research SA Meeting.
2011 Pederick, V. G., Ween, M. P., Paton, J. C. & McDevitt, C. A. (2011). Biochemical characterisation of PA1876, a Pseudomonas aeruginosa multidrug ATP-binding cassette transporter. Adelaide Protein Group.
2011 Pederick, V. G., Ween, M. P., Paton, J. C. & McDevitt, C. A. (2011). Biochemical characterisation of PA1876, a novel Pseudomonas aeruginosa multidrug ATP-binding cassette transporter. School of Molecular and Biomedical Science Research Symposium.

2013 - Channel 7 Children's Research Foundation Grant ($31,000)
           "The role of a Type 1 secretion system in Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilm formation" [CIA]

Honours
Co-supervisor - Amy Burns (1st Class; 2015)

Principles and Practices of Research III Placement
Co-supervisor - Marina Zupan (Semester 2, 2016)

Memberships

Date Role Membership Country
2011 - 2012 Member Australian Society for Medical Research
2011 - ongoing Member UK Biochemical Society
2011 - ongoing Member Australian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
2011 - 2015 Member Australian Society for Microbiology
2010 - ongoing Member Adelaide Protein Group
Position
Research Associate
Phone
83134671
Fax
8313 4362
Campus
North Terrace
Building
Molecular Life Sciences
Org Unit
Molecular and Cellular Biology

top