Growth and septation of animal-attached bacteria

Up to now, the study of bacterial reproduction focused on a handful of model microorganisms. On the other hand, cell biological studies of environmental bacteria such as those thriving on animal surfaces are scarce. In this research proposal we want to determine the molecular and cell biological mechanisms underlying the reproductive anomalies of four Gammaproteobacteria stably associated to animals. The ultimate goal is the identification of cell growth and septum positioning mechanisms conserved among this ecologically and medically important group of microorganisms. We will study selected cell division proteins in cell-free systems and apply a wide palette of state-of-the-art and classic microscopic techniques to both live and fixed nematode-bacteria consortia (e.g. Selective Plane Illumination Microscopy, 3D structured illumination microscopy, cryo-EM and confocal laser scanning microscopy).

Project leader: Dr. Silvia Bulgheresi

Participants: Silvia Bulgheresi, Philipp Weber, Nika Pende, Lena König, Tobias Viehböck

Key collaborators:
Ass. Prof. Tanneke den Blaauwen, Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences, Amsterdam, ·
Ass. Prof. Martin Loose, Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria), Klosterneuburg
Dr. Kareem Elsayad, Campus Science Support Facilities (CSF), Advanced Microscopy Facility, Vienna
Ass. Prof. Martin Pilhofer, ETH Zürich Department of Biology Institute of Molecular Biology & Biophysics, Zürich
Prof. Yves Brun & Prof. Michael Van Nieuwenhze, Indiana University

Duration: 01.11.2015-31.10.2020

Funding agency: Austrian Science Fund (FWF)