Department of Ecogenetics and Systems Biology - Division of Archaea Biology and Ecogenomics

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Research > Ongoing Projects > RE-ATTACH: Reproduction Mechanisms of Host Attached Bacteria

RE-ATTACH: Reproduction Mechanisms of Host Attached Bacteria

The molecular basis of cell division is well studied only in model microorganisms. Yet, the vast majority of these are not cultivable and their reproduction modes are unexplored. In the course of my dissertation I will focus on environmental Gammaproteobacteria that coat the surface of two marine nematodes Laxus oneistus and Robbea sp.3. Both of these rod-shaped microbial symbionts display extraordinarily reproductive strategies as they grow in width and set their constricting rings longitudinally. We want to understand the molecular and cell biological mechanisms by which these two nematode symbionts grow and reproduce. Do longitudinally dividing bacteria share the same cell division molecules with model Gammaproteobacteria or do, instead, utilize different ones? Which are the core septum positioning mechanisms and molecules conserved in all Gammaproteobacteria? We will address these questions by using a wide palette of microscopy-based techniques (e.g. negative stain electron microscopy and confocal laser scanning microscopy), biochemical approaches such as peptidoglycan composition analysis and in vitro reconstitution of bacterial cytoskeletal components, as well as ectopic expression of symbiont cell division proteins in E. coli and fission yeast. In order to possess the complete repertoire of cell division proteins of the aforementioned symbionts, their complete genomes will be sequenced. This will also allow us to gain insights about their evolution and ecology.
Duration: 01.10.2013 - 30.09.2016

Funding: uni:docs - fellowship programme for Doctoral candidates of the University of Vienna

Participants: Nika Pende, Silvia Bulgheresi, Christa Schleper

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