Presentation Title

Investigating the molecular basis of contact-dependent, interbacterial communication using Burkholderia thailandensis

Faculty Mentor

Sara Marlatt

Start Date

18-11-2017 2:15 PM

End Date

18-11-2017 3:15 PM

Location

BSC-Ursa Minor 59

Session

Poster 3

Type of Presentation

Poster

Subject Area

biological_agricultural_sciences

Abstract

Burkholderia thailandensis, a non-pathogenic, gram-negative soil bacterium, contains a 4-gene operon that encodes a contact-dependent growth inhibition (CDI) system that can be used to compete with other bacteria when they are in direct contact. This CDI system, which consists of the genes bcpAIOB, is thought to work through the delivery of a toxic protein. This protein usually acts as a nuclease when delivered into neighboring cells, ultimately leading to death of the target cell. Within the cell, the activity of the nuclease is neutralized through the immunity protein (BcpI) encoded in the operon. If surrounding bacteria express this BcpI protein, they are immune to attack and are identified as “self” neighbors. In addition to its role in competition through CDI, this operon has recently been shown to be involved in cooperative behaviors between “self” bacteria as well, including the formation of biofilms. Biofilms are bacterial communities that can be held together by extracellular proteins, sugars and nucleic acids. Bacteria within a biofilm work together to meet the nutritional needs of the community and can provide protection from chemical and microbial attacks on the bacterial community. Biofilms can be both harmful and beneficial in environmental and clinical situations, so the ability to control and manipulate biofilm formation would be useful in a variety of applications. In order to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying Bcp-mediated biofilm formation in Burkholderia thailandensis, our research aims to identify and characterize genes that are required for the formation and/or maintenance of a biofilm.

Key words: contact-dependent growth inhibition, bacterial cooperation, biofilm, Bcp operon

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Nov 18th, 2:15 PM Nov 18th, 3:15 PM

Investigating the molecular basis of contact-dependent, interbacterial communication using Burkholderia thailandensis

BSC-Ursa Minor 59

Burkholderia thailandensis, a non-pathogenic, gram-negative soil bacterium, contains a 4-gene operon that encodes a contact-dependent growth inhibition (CDI) system that can be used to compete with other bacteria when they are in direct contact. This CDI system, which consists of the genes bcpAIOB, is thought to work through the delivery of a toxic protein. This protein usually acts as a nuclease when delivered into neighboring cells, ultimately leading to death of the target cell. Within the cell, the activity of the nuclease is neutralized through the immunity protein (BcpI) encoded in the operon. If surrounding bacteria express this BcpI protein, they are immune to attack and are identified as “self” neighbors. In addition to its role in competition through CDI, this operon has recently been shown to be involved in cooperative behaviors between “self” bacteria as well, including the formation of biofilms. Biofilms are bacterial communities that can be held together by extracellular proteins, sugars and nucleic acids. Bacteria within a biofilm work together to meet the nutritional needs of the community and can provide protection from chemical and microbial attacks on the bacterial community. Biofilms can be both harmful and beneficial in environmental and clinical situations, so the ability to control and manipulate biofilm formation would be useful in a variety of applications. In order to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying Bcp-mediated biofilm formation in Burkholderia thailandensis, our research aims to identify and characterize genes that are required for the formation and/or maintenance of a biofilm.

Key words: contact-dependent growth inhibition, bacterial cooperation, biofilm, Bcp operon