Proteases and chaperones – how they orchestra pathogenesis of Staphylococcus aureus

Staphylococcus aureus is a leading cause of bacterial infections world-wide. While antibiotics such as β-lactams were once very effective in treating staphylococcal infections, the rapid spread of methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) has made treatment increasingly difficult.

Our research is dedicated to unravel the molecular mechanisms underlying the ability of Staphylococcus aureus to cause disease and to develop antibiotic resistance.

Focus has been on the highly conserved ClpP proteases and Clp chaperones that by controlling toxin production, stress responses, cell division and antiobiotic resistance are essential for the virulence of Staphylococcus aureus.

In close collaboration with national and international partners we are working to answer the research questions such as:

  • How is β-lactam resistance linked to cell division - or how does beta-lactams kill S. aureus?
  • Does tetracycline drive the spread of MRSA among pigs?
  • How do chaperones and proteases control resistance to last line antibiotics such as daptomycin?
  • What is the regulatory network controlling expression of S. aureus enterotoxins?
  • Can we identify novel S. aureus immune evasion mechanisms?

Students project work

We have master- and bachelor projects lined to all our research activities. For more information please contact Dorte Frees at