Pseudomonas

Event Date: 
Wednesday, August 31, 2011 - 19:15 - 20:00
Institution: 
Oregon State University
Title: 

Genomics-guided discovery of novel traits in Pseudomonas fluorescens

Abstract: 

Pseudomonas fluorescens is a diverse bacterial species known for its ubiquity in natural habitats and the production of structurally diverse, bioactive secondary metabolites. The high degree of ecological and metabolic diversity represented in P. fluorescens is reflected in the genomic diversity displayed among strains. Certain strains, such as the biological control bacterium P. fluorescens Pf-5, live in association with plants, protecting them from infection by plant pathogens. Strain Pf-5 produces an array of structurally-characterized secondary metabolites that are toxic to plant pathogenic bacteria, fungi and Oomycetes. Biosynthetic gene clusters for many of these metabolites are located in lineage-specific regions absent from the genomes of other strains of P. fluorescens. Orphan gene clusters, which encode for the biosynthesis of unknown natural products, have also been identified in lineage-specific regions of the Pf-5 genome and the following products identified through combined bioinformatic and chemical analyses. The novel cyclic lipopeptide orfamide A lyses zoospores produced by phytopathogenic Phytophthora spp. The FitD insect toxin contributes to the newly-discovered insecticidal activity of Pf-5, and several analogs of rhizoxin, a macrocyclic lactone, exhibit antifungal activity. Recently, orphan gene clusters expressed under the control of global regulators such as GacA have been identified via transcriptome analysis of Pf-5, demonstrating the value of global-regulator-based genome mining as an approach to decipher the secondary metabolome of Pseudomonas spp. We are also employing microarrays to gain a holistic view of genome expression profiles of Pf-5 living on seed surfaces, the environment where the bacterium interacts with seed-infecting fungi and Oomycetes to affect biocontrol. A series of Pf-5 mutants having deletions in one or many (up to seven) known or orphan gene clusters have been derived and are being tested in a series of bioassays. These approaches are providing new insights into the metabolic capacity of this bacterium, its activity on plant surfaces, and its interactions with plants, insects and other microorganisms.

Event Date: 
Wednesday, August 31, 2011 - 18:00 - 18:15
Institution: 
CSIRO
Title: 

Cheating, trade-offs and the evolution of virulence in a natural pathogen population

Abstract: 

The evolutionary dynamics of pathogens are critically important for disease outcomes, prevalence and emergence. In this talk I will discuss some specific ecological conditions that promote the long-term maintenance of virulence polymorphisms in a pathogen population. Recent theory predicts that evolution towards increased virulence can be reversed if less virulent social ‘cheats’ exploit virulent ‘cooperator’ pathogens. However, there is little evidence that social exploitation operates within natural pathogen populations. I will demonstrate that for the bacterium Pseudomonas syringae, major virulence polymorphisms are maintained at unexpectedly high frequencies in the host Arabidopsis thaliana. Experiments reveal that the fitness costs of decreased virulence are eliminated in mixed infections, whereas less virulent strains have a fitness advantage in non-host environments. These results suggest that niche differentiation contributes to the maintenance of virulence polymorphisms, and that both within-host and between-host pathogen growth must be considered to understand the roles of cheating and cooperation in pathogen populations.

Event Date: 
Wednesday, April 27, 2011 - 18:00 - 18:15
Institution: 
Maquarie University
Title: 

Transcriptome led microbial discovery.

Abstract: 

Using a genome wide transcriptomic approach, Karl was able to unravel the role of the Pseudomonas global
activator system (GacA/GacS) in the regulation of an extremely broad range of functions including iron acquisition, oxidative stress response, secondary metabolism and motility. Similar work in Acinetobacter baumannii, a bacterium that is emerging as a major human pathogen due to multiple drug resistance, has revealed the antibiotic efflux to be major mode of resistance and led to the discovery of novel resistance proteins. Karl is a post-
doctoral fellow at Macquarie University working in Prof. Ian Paulsen’s group.

Event Date: 
Wednesday, February 23, 2011 - 18:00 - 18:15
Institution: 
UTS
Title: 

Class 1 integrons in genomic islands of pathogenic Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolates.

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