This inference is reported in January 2010 PNAS by Dr. Matt Wolfgang and collaborators, and highlighted in the Spring issue of UNC’s Endeavors magazine. The crystal structure for a pilus-biogenesis factor from the human pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa was determined by Dr. Redinbo’s research group (UNC’s Depts of Chemistry and Biochemistry) and found to contain a binding site for a calcium atom. Microbiology graduate students, Kimberly Coggan and Ryan Heiniger in the Wolfgang laboratory, demonstrated, using genetic methods, that the presence or absence of a bound calcium atom in this type IV pilus complex critically regulates the surface mobility of this bacterium. Drs. Wolfgang and Redinbo suggest that calcium-dependent regulation of motility will likely apply to other human pathogenic bacteria and that interfering with this process may provide a new approach to controlling their diseases.