“Biochemist who loves traveling, exploring new places and trying different food. Loves dogs, nature and being outdoors!”

belinda.loh[at]intl.zju.edu.cn

Senior Postdoctoral Fellow

Sub-group leader: filamentous phages

Filamentous phages have been shown to have a positive impact on its pathogenic host by increasing antimicrobial resistance, motility or biofilm formation. More recently, it has also been shown that bacterial pathogens which have been infected by filamentous phages cause more severe disease progression in humans compared to non-infected bacteria.

One of my research goals is to understand the impact of filamentous prophages in bacterial host genomes. Making use of bioinformatics and microbiological tools, my group studies prophages in ESKAPE pathogens. We have recently discovered two filamentous phages in these species which contain genes with putative toxin functions, which we plan to characterise while also investigating the biology of the phages and their impact on the host (e.g. biofilm, capsule formation). Studying putative virulence factors and infection mechanisms is of crucial medical importance.

In addition to the impact of filamentous phages on the host, I am also fascinated by the peculiar biology of these phages: Instead of being released from the cytoplasm through lysis of the host cell, infected bacteria continue to grow while filamentous phages are assembled at the inner membrane of the bacterium and extruded across the cell envelope. We investigate the phage assembly process which includes the functional characterisation and structural elucidation.

Team members:

Malong (PhD student)
Liwei (MSc student)
Ziyi (undergraduate student)

Education

2010 – 2014

Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology
University of Tuebingen, Germany
PhD in Biochemistry (magna cum laude)
“The CCR4-NOT deadenylation complex functions in the Nonsense Mediated mRNA Decay pathway”
Dr. Elisa Izaurralde

2002 – 2004

University of Queensland, Australia
Bachelor of Biotechnology
(Second Upper Class Honours)

Work Experiences

2018 – present

Zhejiang University-University of Edinburgh Institute
China
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Research: Study of membrane proteins & bacteriophages

2015 – 2017

University of Hohenheim, Germany
Postdoctoral Scientist
Research: Structure-function relationship of membrane proteins with lipids.

2009 – 2010

University of Oxford, UK
Research Assistant
Research: Correlation of HLA-types with HIV progression.

2008 – 2009

University College London, UK
Research Assistant
Research: Understanding the effects of small chemical compounds on HIV life cycle.

2007

Humanyx, SG
Research Assistant
Research: Constructing phage display library.

2004 – 2007

National University of Singapore, SG
Research Assistant
Research: Understanding the role of SARM in C. rotundicauda.

Awards & Funding

2019

China Postdoctoral Science Foundation, CN
“Elucidating the multi-functional role of Membrane-embedded molecular motors”
Grant number: 530000-X91902

2016

University of Hohenheim, DE
“Investigating Protein-Lipid Interactions: The Crucial Role of the Lipid Bilayer Composition on Structure and Activity of Membrane Proteins”

2002

University of Australia, AU
Summer Research Scholarship

Publications

Cui Z, Zhang Y, Kakar KU, Kong X, Li R, Loh B, Leptihn S, Li B (2021) Involvement of non-coding RNAs during infection of rice by Acidovorax oryzae. Environmental Microbiology Accepted.

Cai H, Zhu Y, Hu D, Li Y, Leptihn S, Loh B, Hua X, Yu Y (2021) Co-harboring of novel hybrid blaKPC−2 plasmid and ICE carrying Tn6203 in multidrug-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Frontiers in Microbiology Accepted.
doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2021.674974

Wang X, Zhang M, Loh B, Leptihn S, Ahmed T, Li B (2021) A Novel NRPS Cluster, Acquired by Horizontal Gene Transfer from Algae, Regulates Siderophore Iron Metabolism in Burkholderia seminalis R456. International Journal of Biological Macromolecules. 182:838-848.
doi:10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2021.04.051

Feng T, Leptihn S, Dong K, Loh B, Zhang Y, Li M, Guo XK, Zelin Cui (2021) JD419, a Staphylococcus aureus phage with a unique morphology and broad host range. Frontiers in Microbiology (Virology) 12: 602902.
doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2021.602902

Loh B*, Gondil VS*, Manohar P, Khan FM, Yang H, Leptihn S (2020) Encapsulation and Delivery of Therapeutic Phages. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 87:e01979-20. (Featured on cover)
doi: 10.1128/AEM.01979-20

Fang J, Zhang L, He J, Zhao M, Loh B, Leptihn S, Yu Y, Hua X (2020) Plasmid dynamics of mcr-1-positive Salmonella spp. in a general hospital in China. Frontiers in Microbiology (Antimicrobials, Resistance & Chemotherapy) 11: 3320.
doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2020.604710

Loh B*, Chen J*, Manohar P, Yu Y, Hua X, Leptihn S (2020) A Biological Inventory of Prophages in A. baumannii Genomes Reveal Distinct Distributions in Classes, Length and Genomic Positions. Frontiers in Microbiology (Infectious Diseases) 11: 3055. 
doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2020.579802

Feng T, Leptihn S, Dong K, Loh B, Zhang Y, Li M, Guo X, Cui Z (2020) Characterisation of bacteriophage JD419, a Staphylococcal phage with an unusual morphology and broad host range. bioRxiv 2020.11.09.370866
doi: 10.1101/2020.11.09.370866

Hua X, Xu Q, He J, Zhang D, Chen Q, Zhang L, Loh B, Leptihn S, Wen Y, Higgins P, Zhou Z, Yu Y (2020) The distribution of mutations and hotspots in transcription regulators of resistance-nodulation-cell division efflux pumps in tigecycline non-susceptible Acinetobacter baumannii in China. International Journal of Medical Microbiology 310(8): 151464.
doi: 10.1016/j.ijmm.2020.151464

Loh B*, Chen J*, Manohar P, Yu Y, Hua X, Leptihn S (2020) A Biological Inventory of Prophages in A. baumannii Genomes Reveal Distinct Distributions in Classes, Length and Genomic Positions. bioRxiv 2020.10.26.355222. 
doi: 10.1101/2020.10.26.355222

Manohar P, Loh B, Leptihn S (2020) Will the overuse of Antibiotics during the Coronavirus pandemic accelerate Antimicrobial resistance? Infectious Microbes & Diseases 2(3): 87-88.
doi: 10.1097/IM9.0000000000000034

Manohar P, Loh B, Nachimuthu R, Hua X, Welburn SC, Leptihn S (2020) Secondary Bacterial Infections in Patients with Viral Pneumonia. Frontiers in Medicine (Infectious Diseases – Surveillance, Prevention and Treatment) 7: 420.
doi: 10.3389/fmed.2020.00420

Manohar P*, Loh B*, Athira S, Nachimuthu R, Hua X, Welburn SC and Leptihn S (2020) Secondary Bacterial Infections During Pulmonary Viral Disease: Phage Therapeutics as Alternatives to Antibiotics? Frontiers in Microbiology (Antimicrobials, Resistance and Chemotherapy) 11: 1434.
doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2020.01434

Loh B and Leptihn S (2020) A call for a multidisciplinary future of Phage Therapy to combat multi-drug resistant bacterial infections. Infectious Microbes & Diseases 2(1): 1-2. 
doi: 10.1097/IM9.0000000000000018

Loh B, Kuhn A, Leptihn S (2019) The fascinating biology behind phage display: Filamentous Phage Assembly. Molecular Microbiology 111(5): 1132-1138.
doi: 10.1111/mmi.14187

Loh B, Haase M, Mueller L, Kuhn A, Leptihn S (2017) The transmembrane morphogenesis protein gp1 of filamentous phages contains Walker A and Walker B motifs essential for phage assembly. Viruses 9(4): 73.
doi: 10.3390/v9040073

Altrichter S, Haase M, Loh B, Kuhn A, Leptihn S (2017) Mechanism of the spontaneous and directional membrane insertion of a 2-transmembrane ion channel. ACS Chemical Biology 12(2): 380-388.
doi: 10.1021/acschembio.6b01085

Utturkar SM, Huber H, Leptihn S, Loh B, Brown SD, Stetter KO, Podar M (2016) Draft genome sequence of Pyrodictium occultum PL19, a marine hyperthermophilic species of Archaea that grows optimally at 105℃. Genome Announcement 4(1).
doi: 10.1128/genomeA.00016-16

Jonas S*, Christie M*, Peter D*, Bhandari D, Loh B, Huntzinger E, Weichenrieder O & Izaurralde E (2014) An asymmetric PAN3 dimer recruits a single PAN2 exonuclease to mediate mRNA deadenylation and decay. Nature Structural & Molecular Biology 21(7): 599-608.
doi: 10.1038/nsmb.2837

Chen Y*, Boland A*, Kuzuoğlu-Öztürk D*, Bawankar P, Loh B, Chang CT, Weichenrieder O, Izaurralde E (2014) A DDX6-CNOT1 Complex and W-Binding Pockets in CNOT9 Reveal Direct Links between miRNA Target Recognition and Silencing. Molecular Cell 54(5): 737-50.
doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2014.03.034

Chang CT, Bercovich N, Loh B, Jonas S & Izaurralde E (2014) The activation of the decapping enzyme DCP2 by DCP1 occurs on the EDC4 scaffold and involves a conserved loop in DCP1. Nucleic Acids Research 42: 5217-5233.
doi: 10.1093/nar/gku129

Loh B, Jonas S & Izaurralde E (2013) The SMG5-SMG7 heterodimer directly recruits the CCR4-NOT deadenylase complex to mRNAs containing nonsense codons via interaction with POP2. Genes & Development 27: 2125-38.
doi: 10.1101/gad.226951.113

Bawankar P, Loh B, Wohlbold L, Schmidt S & Izaurralde E (2013) NOT10 and C2orf29/NOT11 form a conserved module of the CCR4-NOT complex that docks onto the NOT1 N-terminal domain. RNA Biology 10: 228-244.
doi: 10.4161/rna.23018

Vozzolo L, Loh B, Gane PJ, Tribak M, Zhou L, Anderson I, Nyakatura E, Jenner RG, Selwood D & Fassati A (2010) Gyrase B inhibitor impairs HIV-1 replication by targeting Hsp90 and the capsid protein. Journal of Biological Chemistry 285: 39314-28. 
doi: 10.1074/jbc.M110.155275

Loh B, Vozzolo L, Mok J, Lee C, Fitzmaurice R, Caddick S and Fassati A. (2009) Inhibition of HIV-1 replication by isoxazolidine and isoxazole sulfonamides. Chemical Biology & Drug Design 75(5): 461-74.
doi: 10.1111/j.1747-0285.2010.00956.x

Loh B,Wang XW, Bui THH, Luan XL, Ho B andDing JL. (2008) SARM: A novel Toll-like receptor adaptor, is functionally conserved from arthropod to human. Molecular Immunology 45(6):1732-42.
doi: 10.1016/j.molimm.2007.09.030