Kreft et al. (2013) in PNAS
Following a workshop on Individual-Based Ecology of Microbes: Observations and Modeling, held at the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS), Knoxville, Tennessee in June 2011, a team of 15 researchers led by Drs Kreft, Plugge and Hellweger have published a short opinion paper in PNAS. They argue that the future of microbial sciences lies in the combination of single-cell microbiology and individual-based modelling, a research area they dubbed µIBE for microbial Individual-Based Ecology.
The full paper can be viewed here: http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1317472110
Annemieke van der Wal, Robin Tecon, Jan-Ulrich Kreft, Wolf M. Mooij, Johan H. J. Leveau (2013)
PLoS ONE 8(10): e75633
Johan Leveau’s group in collaboration with Jan Kreft and Wolf Mooij show that the experimentally observed distribution of bacterial colony sizes on plant leaves cannot be explained by assuming patchy distribution of resources, but it can be explained by assuming detachment of single cells from growing microcolonies.
Treating infections by multi-drug resistant Gram-negative bacteria is particularly challenging because the envelope around these bacterial cells restricts antibiotic entry. Gram-negative bacteria contain an outer and an inner membrane separated by the periplasm. The stability and relative impermeability of the outer membrane depends largely on the structure and physical properties of the lipopolysaccharide (LPS), a glycolipid made of lipid A, core oligosaccharide (core), and O-antigen (OAg).Bacteria expressing OAg resist innate immune attack by host macrophages and serum complement. Hence, finding how to inhibit OAg synthesis should bolster natural clearance of bacteria by innate immune defenses, improving the effectiveness of current antibiotics.
Miguel’s research on OAg assembly has advanced this field, and also generated tools, reagents and know-how to exploit the enzymes for OAg assembly in the quest for new anti-infective strategies. OAgs are polymers assembled as lipid-linked saccharides and subsequently ligated to preformed lipid A-core. This seminar presentation will discuss fundamental research elucidating the mechanisms OAg synthesis, with particular emphasis on the flipping step across the inner membrane and the ligation of the OAg precursor molecule to the rest of the LPS. Both the ligase WaaL and the flippase Wzx have the paradoxical property of being distinct in each system but at the same time performing conserved functions. Miguel’s research addresses how these two proteins exert their function despite massive differences in their primary amino acid sequence, and paves the way to biotechnological applications in glycoengineering.
Dr. Jennifer Gardy….
…will present a seminar on Tuesday 15th entitled ‘Of Snow and short reads: how microbial genomics is changing public health’
Jennifer is a Senior Scientist from the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control. She is a genetic epidemiologist who utilises whole genome sequencing technologies to understand the evolutionary origins and dynamics of outbreak organisms.
You can find out more about Jennifer here and read her recent NEJM paper here.
Jennifer shares her scientific views on Twitter – @jennifergardy - and has more information about her research on her own website.
Prof Martin Warren will present an IMI seminar on Tuesday 8th October entitled ‘Shaping E. coli for new activities – the engineering of vitamin synthesis and the construction of bacterial organelles’
Martin’s interests are firmly embedded in the biosynthesis and biology of the pigments of life, encompassing molecules such as heme, chlorophyll, vitamin B12, siroheme, coenzyme F430 and heme d1. With Dr Evelyne Deery he was one of the first to use synthetic biology as a means to probe biosynthetic pathways through the reconstruction of the whole cobalamin (vitamin B12) pathway in E. coli…. read more
Prof Jeff Errington will present an IMI seminar on Tuesday 24th September entitled ‘Fun with L-forms: life without walls’.
Jeff is Director of the Centre for Bacterial Cell Biology, at the University of Newcastle. His research is focused on the processes involved in Cell division, chromosome segregation, and the control of cell shape in the model bacterium Bacillus subtilis.
More information on Jeff’s research can be found here - and his most recent reseacrh article on the subject is here - Open Biol.-2013-Errington-
IMI Professors, Laura Piddock and Robin May, along with Julia Myatt from the School of Biosciences, will be presenting in the Evening Biology Lecture series this term. This series will highlight research and teaching in the IMI and the School of Biosciences and is particularly suitable for A-level students thinking about studying biology.
The University of Birmingham Institute of Microbiology and Infection and the EEC Framework 7 ST-FLOW Consortium present:
A Symposium on Bacterial Transcription Regulation
Date: Tuesday 17 September 2013, 10:00-16:45
Venue: NG08, School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham
Session 1: Networks
Session chair: Steve Busby (UoB). Speakers: Victor de Lorenzo (CSIC Madrid), Peter Lund (UoB), Laura Piddock (UoB), Alison Baylay (UoB), Hans Geiselmann (UJF Grenoble). The session will start with a Chair’s Introduction at 10 a.m. prompt.
Session 2: Molecular Interactions
Session chair: Victor de Lorenzo (CSIC Madrid). Speakers: Xiaodong Zhang (ICL), Douglas Browning (UoB), David Grainger (UoB), Laura Rowley (UoB), Ramesh Wigneshweraraj (ICL). The session will start with a Chair’s Introduction at 2 p.m. prompt.
Open to all and free of charge but please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you intend to attend. Coffee will be served from 9:30 in the Undercroft of the School of Biosciences.
To be held on Tues 17 Sept 2013 at the University of Birmingham School of Biosciences
Provisional Programme: Bacterial Transcription Regulation
Session 1: Bacterial Transcription Regulation – Networks
10:00 Welcome and Chair’s Introduction. Steve Busby
10:15 E. coli and the elephant no more: the Crp/cAMP system of P. putida.
Victor de Lorenzo (25+5)
10:45 Transcriptional responses to low pH in E coli. Peter Lund (25+5)
11:15 Networks controlling bacterial efflux pumps. Laura Piddock (25+5)
11:45 Regulation of a Pneumococcal efflux pump. Alison Baylay (12+3)
12:00 Transcription responses to slow growth. Hans Geiselmann (25+5)
12:30 Discussion: where next? (15)
12:45-14:00 Lunch Break
Session 2: Bacterial Transcription Regulation- Molecular Interactions
14:00 Chair’s Introduction. Victor de Lorenzo (25+5)
14:10 Oligomerisation and transcription regulation. Xiaodong Zhang (25+5)
14:40 Organisation at complex promoters. Doug Browning (25+5)
15:10 Nucleoid associated proteins and transcription. Dave Grainger (25+5) 15:40 Local effects of bacterial transcription. Laura Rowley (12+3)
15:55 ‘Phage protein interactions with RNA polymerase. Ramesh
16:25 Discussion: where next? (15)
16:45 End of Symposium
The IMI away day was held on Friday the 12th July: a fabulous day of science enhanced by the beautiful surroundings at Winterbourne House and Gardens.
The programme for the day included presentations from many of our research groups, which highlighted perfectly the diversity and excellence of the microbial research taking place within the IMI.
We learnt some surprising facts about many of the IMI members - including a Professor who’s research is influenced purely by his love of pastries (particularly doughnuts)
There was also a guest appearance from Eric the E. coli and prize giveaways!A wine reception in the Winterbourne Gardens brought a fabulous day to a close – bring on next year!