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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, Nina K., Dorothee Andres, Yu Kang, Ulrich Gohlke, Andreas Schmidt, Sonja Kunstmann, Mark Santer, and Stefanie Barbirz. 2017. “Complex Carbohydrate Recognition by Proteins: Fundamental Insights from Bacteriophage Cell Adhesion Systems.” Perspectives in Science. Accessed January 26. doi:10.1016/j.pisc.2016.10.001.

2.       Schmidt, Andreas, Wolfgang Rabsch, Nina K. Broeker, and Stefanie Barbirz. 2016. “Bacteriophage Tailspike Protein Based Assay to Monitor Phase Variable Glucosylations in Salmonella O-Antigens.” BMC Microbiology 16 (September): 207. doi:10.1186/s12866-016-0826-0.

3.       Andres, Dorothee, Ulrich Gohlke, Nina K. Broeker, Stefan Schulze, Wolfgang Rabsch, Udo Heinemann, Stefanie Barbirz, and Robert Seckler. 2013. “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 23 (4): 486–94. doi:10.1093/glycob/cws224.

4.       Broeker, Nina K., Ulrich Gohlke, Jürgen J. Müller, Charlotte Uetrecht, Udo Heinemann, Robert Seckler, and Stefanie Barbirz. 2012. “Single Amino Acid Exchange in Bacteriophage HK620 Tailspike Protein Results in Thousand-Fold Increase of Its Oligosaccharide Affinity.” Glycobiology. Accessed November 12. doi:10.1093/glycob/cws126.

5.       Zaccheus, Mona V., Nina K. Broeker, Magnus Lundborg, Charlotte Uetrecht, Stefanie Barbirz, and Göran Widmalm. 2012. “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.” Carbohydrate Research 357 (August): 118–25. doi:10.1016/j.carres.2012.05.022.

6.       Bergfeld, Anne K., Heike Claus, Nina K. Lorenzen, Fabian Spielmann, Ulrich Vogel, and Martina Mühlenhoff. 2009. “The Polysialic Acid-Specific O-Acetyltransferase OatC from Neisseria Meningitidis Serogroup C Evolved Apart from Other Bacterial Sialate O-Acetyltransferases.” Journal of Biological Chemistry 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).

Photo: Dr. Anja Thalhammer