Research Topic

To Transport or Not To — The Gate-Keepers of The Cell Integrity and Their Role in Pathogenesis

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About this Research Topic

Cell membrane is the most dynamic cellular structure that predominantly functions as a selective permeability barrier by blocking the free exchange of most biological molecules between the cytoplasm and the external environment. This is an important barrier for antibiotics and host immune system. However, for life to sustain, every cell needs to facilitate the efficient exchange of micro and macro-molecular substances in and out of the cell. Membrane transport processes play a crucial role in achieving this goal that allows the uptake of required nutrients, ions and gases, extrusion of unwanted metabolic by-products and helps maintain a constant internal state (homeostasis) that is conducive to carry out living processes. Because of their relatively simple life cycle, bacteria have been extensively used as a molecular tool and biological framework to understand the fundamentals of membrane transport and the mechanisms that govern these processes.

While water, dissolved gases such as oxygen and carbon dioxide, and some small molecules can simply diffuse through the bacterial cell membrane, other molecules require carrier proteins called membrane transporters and/or permeases to facilitate their transport across the membrane into or out of the cytoplasm. Bacteria possess multiple and diverse families of membrane transporters that facilitate translocation of a wide range molecules including ions, metals, sugars, di and tri-carboxylic acids, antibiotics, vitamins, amino acids and other biologically relevant molecules across the cell membrane. Over the last few years there has been a substantial effort to genetically and biochemically identify and characterize different types of bacterial membrane transporters and elucidate their regulatory mechanisms and their role in bacterial pathogenesis. All kinds of articles are welcome, including Original Research, Reviews, MiniReviews, Opinion, and methods.

The main focus of the review articles is to provide a comprehensive and detailed summary infomation of the current knowledge on experimentally characterized bacterial membrane transporters including, the primary and secondary active transporters, ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters, efflux pumps, aquaporins, C4, C5 and C6-dicarboxylate transporters, ECF (energy-coupling factor) transporters, metal and proton-coupled peptide transporters (PTR/POT), respectively. As pathogens do not cause disease without having access to nutirients to import, the role of the transporters in pathogenesis will be an integral component of the Reseach Topic where basic bacterial biology and physiology is an essential component for bacterial pathogenesis in the host. Each For review articles, they will provide a historical perspective, a general overview of the types/families of transporter, and then reflect on the details of their function, regulatory mechanisms, specificity towards substrate or group of substrates, their diversity across multiple bacterial genera and their critical role in pathogenicity.


Keywords: transporters, carboxylates, nutrients, two-component systems, TCA cycle, membrane transporters, C:N homeostasis


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Cell membrane is the most dynamic cellular structure that predominantly functions as a selective permeability barrier by blocking the free exchange of most biological molecules between the cytoplasm and the external environment. This is an important barrier for antibiotics and host immune system. However, for life to sustain, every cell needs to facilitate the efficient exchange of micro and macro-molecular substances in and out of the cell. Membrane transport processes play a crucial role in achieving this goal that allows the uptake of required nutrients, ions and gases, extrusion of unwanted metabolic by-products and helps maintain a constant internal state (homeostasis) that is conducive to carry out living processes. Because of their relatively simple life cycle, bacteria have been extensively used as a molecular tool and biological framework to understand the fundamentals of membrane transport and the mechanisms that govern these processes.

While water, dissolved gases such as oxygen and carbon dioxide, and some small molecules can simply diffuse through the bacterial cell membrane, other molecules require carrier proteins called membrane transporters and/or permeases to facilitate their transport across the membrane into or out of the cytoplasm. Bacteria possess multiple and diverse families of membrane transporters that facilitate translocation of a wide range molecules including ions, metals, sugars, di and tri-carboxylic acids, antibiotics, vitamins, amino acids and other biologically relevant molecules across the cell membrane. Over the last few years there has been a substantial effort to genetically and biochemically identify and characterize different types of bacterial membrane transporters and elucidate their regulatory mechanisms and their role in bacterial pathogenesis. All kinds of articles are welcome, including Original Research, Reviews, MiniReviews, Opinion, and methods.

The main focus of the review articles is to provide a comprehensive and detailed summary infomation of the current knowledge on experimentally characterized bacterial membrane transporters including, the primary and secondary active transporters, ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters, efflux pumps, aquaporins, C4, C5 and C6-dicarboxylate transporters, ECF (energy-coupling factor) transporters, metal and proton-coupled peptide transporters (PTR/POT), respectively. As pathogens do not cause disease without having access to nutirients to import, the role of the transporters in pathogenesis will be an integral component of the Reseach Topic where basic bacterial biology and physiology is an essential component for bacterial pathogenesis in the host. Each For review articles, they will provide a historical perspective, a general overview of the types/families of transporter, and then reflect on the details of their function, regulatory mechanisms, specificity towards substrate or group of substrates, their diversity across multiple bacterial genera and their critical role in pathogenicity.


Keywords: transporters, carboxylates, nutrients, two-component systems, TCA cycle, membrane transporters, C:N homeostasis


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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