Dr. Nina Bröker

Dr. Nina Bröker
Photo: Dr. Anja Thalhammer











University of Potsdam, Ph.D. 2012

Leibniz University Hannover, Diploma 2008


Research interests

During my Ph.D. I worked on a tailspike protein of E. coli phage HK620. I analyzed the O-antigen binding of this protein and tried to influence binding properties to get a further understanding of protein-carbohydrate-interactions in general. While I am still interested in this field my work now mainly focuses on elucidating how this protein-carbohydrate interaction fits into the whole infection mechanism of different lipopolysaccharide-recognizing bacteriophages. We mainly study this by using time-resolved in vitro DNA-ejection experiments. In future, with our bunch of phages with different morphologies recognizing E. coli, Salmonella, Shigella and other bacteria an alternative to antibiotics might be addressed.



  1. Broeker NK, Roske Y, Valleriani A, Stephan MS, Andres D, Koetz J, Heinemann U, Barbirz S.: "Time-resolved DNA release from an O-antigen-specific Salmonella bacteriophage with a contractile tail.“ J Biol Chem. 2019 Aug 2;294(31):11751-11761. doi: 10.1074/jbc.RA119.008133. Epub 2019 Jun 12.
  2. Kunstmann S, Gohlke U, Broeker NK, Roske Y, Heinemann U, Santer M, Barbirz S.: "Solvent Networks Tune Thermodynamics of Oligosaccharide Complex Formation in an Extended Protein Binding Site.“ J Am Chem Soc. 2018 Aug 22;140(33):10447-10455. doi: 10.1021/jacs.8b03719. Epub 2018 Aug 9.
  3. Broeker NK, Kiele F, Casjens SR, Gilcrease EB, Thalhammer A, Koetz J, Barbirz S.: "In Vitro Studies of Lipopolysaccharide-Mediated DNA Release of Podovirus HK620.“ Viruses. 2018 May 29;10(6). pii: E289. doi: 10.3390/v10060289.
  4. Broeker NK, Barbirz S.: "Not a barrier but a key: How bacteriophages exploit host's O-antigen as an essential receptor to initiate infection.“ Mol Microbiol. 2017 Aug;105(3):353-357. doi: 10.1111/mmi.13729. Epub 2017 Jul 6
  5. Broeker NK, Andres D, Kang Y, Gohlke U, Schmidt A, Kunstmann S, Santer M, Barbirz S. “Complex Carbohydrate Recognition by Proteins: Fundamental Insights from Bacteriophage Cell Adhesion Systems.” Perspectives in Science 2017 Jan;11:45-52. doi:10.1016/j.pisc.2016.10.001.
  6. Schmidt A, Rabsch W, Broeker NK, Barbirz S. "Bacteriophage tailspike protein based assay to monitor phase variable glucosylations in Salmonella O-antigens". BMC Microbiol. 2016 Sep 7;16(1):207. doi: 10.1186/s12866-016-0826-0.
  7. Andres D, Gohlke U, Broeker NK, Schulze S, Rabsch W, Heinemann U, Barbirz S, Seckler R. "An essential serotype recognition pocket on phage P22 tailspike protein forces Salmonella enterica serovar Paratyphi A O-antigen fragments to bind as nonsolution conformers". Glycobiology. 2013 Apr;23(4):486-94. doi: 10.1093/glycob/cws224.
  8. Broeker NK, Gohlke U, Müller JJ, Uetrecht C, Heinemann U, Seckler R, Barbirz S. "Single amino acid exchange in bacteriophage HK620 tailspike protein results in thousand-fold increase of its oligosaccharide affinity". Glycobiology. 2013 Jan;23(1):59-68. doi: 10.1093/glycob/cws126.
  9. Zaccheus MV, Broeker NK, Lundborg M, Uetrecht C, Barbirz S, Widmalm G. "Structural studies of the O-antigen polysaccharide from Escherichia coli TD2158 having O18 serogroup specificity and aspects of its interaction with the tailspike endoglycosidase of the infecting bacteriophage HK620". Carbohydr Res. 2012 Aug 1;357:118-25. doi: 10.1016/j.carres.2012.05.022.
  10. Bergfeld AK, Claus H, Lorenzen NK, Spielmann F, Vogel U, Mühlenhoff M. "The polysialic acid-specific O-acetyltransferase OatC from Neisseria meningitidis serogroup C evolved apart from other bacterial sialate O-acetyltransferases". J Biol Chem. 2009 Jan 2;284(1):6-16. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M807518200.


Teaching experience

So far, I have been supervising several students during their bachelor thesis in our lab. Furthermore, I have been teaching in various practical (Methods of Biochemistry, protein purification, Physical Biochemistry) and exercise courses (Methods of Biochemistry, Physical Biochemistry, Biology of protein structures).

Dr. Nina Bröker
Photo: Dr. Anja Thalhammer