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Departmental Seminar - Ashleigh Griffin : Cheating in Pseudomonas aeruginosa drives switch to privatisation of an essential function

When Oct 05, 2017
from 02:00 PM to 03:00 PM
Where Biffen Lecture Theatre, underneath Dept of Genetics
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5th October 2017 - Biffen Lecture Theatre, 2pm

Title: Cheating in Pseudomnas aeruginosa drives switch to privatisation of an essential function 

Professor Ashleigh Griffin, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford

Pseudomonas aeruginosa colonises the lungs of patients with cystic fibrosis where they are able to persist for many years, despite intense antibiotic treatment. These long-term infections provide an opportunity to observe long-term dynamics of behaviour in a natural population of bacteria. I will talk about a study that uses a unique collection of clinical isolates to chart changes in the way bacterial cells harvest iron form the host environment. In the lab, strains that do not contribute resources towards iron harvesting, invade populations of cooperative wild type cells. This leads to loss of cooperative iron harvesting in the population and iron starvation. In the lung, we have discovered that cells escape this fate by switching to an alternative mechanism which is invulnerable to exploitation by their neighbours. This result highlights the challenges of identifying selection pressures experienced by bacterial cells living inside a human host.

Host:  Chris Illingworth