Technology

Event Date: 
Wednesday, September 30, 2015 - 18:15 - 18:30
Institution: 
UTS
Title: 

Divergence in temperature stress management between coastal and East Australian current (EAC) phytoplankton populations.

Abstract: 

In June 2015, 27 scientists took part in a 3 week ocean voyage aboard the brand new Australian research vessel, the RV Investigator. The main objective of the expedition was to study sub-mesoscale processes - billows and eddies - along the productive shelf influenced by the East Australian Current. Dr Olivier Laczka is presenting the results obtained for one of the multiple projects conducted during this voyage. Microbial communities from the EAC and a coastal site (north of Smokey Cape) were incubated along a temperature gradient (spanning 32 to 15.5 °C) to examine their capacity to deal with departures from in situ temperature (~22 °C). Intracellular stress within picoeukaryote populations was examined using a fluorescent stain targeting Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS). Stained samples were examined with a flow cytometer (excitation wavelength 488 nm). The goal of this study was to assess whether EAC microbial communities are more thermally tolerant than coastal microbial communities and determine whether general oxidative stress patterns could be used as a signature of water mass origins.

Event Date: 
Wednesday, July 29, 2015 - 18:15 - 18:30
Institution: 
Australian Institute of Marine Sciences
Title: 

Coral Reefs Go Viral: Unveiling the viruses associated with corals in a changing climate.

Abstract: 

Viruses are the most common biological agents in the global oceans, with numbers typically averaging ten billion per litre. The ability of viruses to infect all organisms indicates they most likely play a central role in marine ecosystems and have important consequences for the entire marine food web. Marine viruses influence many biogeochemical and ecological processes, including energy and nutrient cycling, host distribution and abundance, and horizontal gene transfer events. Research into viruses associated with coral reefs is a newly emerging field. Corals form an obligate symbiotic relationship with the dinoflagellate genus Symbiodinium, upon which the coral relies heavily for nutrition and calcification. Disruption of this symbiosis can lead to loss of the symbiotic algae from their host, resulting in coral bleaching and, if the symbiosis cannot re-establish, death of the coral colony. While a number of factors, including elevated reactive oxygen species production by Symbiodinium have been linked to coral bleaching, viral infection has not been methodically examined as a possible cause. Viruses that potentially target the algal symbiont, Symbiodinium sp., have been reported previously; therefore, we examined whether Symbiodinium in culture is host to a virus that switches to a lytic infection under stress, such as UV exposure or elevated temperature. Analysis of algal cultures, using techniques including flow cytometry and transmission electron microscopy, revealed prevalent viral activity, regardless of experimental conditions. This talk will present recent results and results allow for the development of molecular diagnostic probes for rapid detection of viruses in field samples, and will help monitor and assess the role of viruses in coral bleaching and holobiont functioning.

Seeking Volunteers for August Science Festival
 
Dear JAMS members and friends,
 
I will be coordinating JAMS' stall at the Australian Museum Science Festival this year in August. This is where we bring the joys of microbiology to the public and especially to school kids.
 
Please see the 2014 brochure for an idea of last year’s function.
 
I am seeking volunteers to help run our stall on the 11th ,12th ,13th ,18th ,19th , and 20th of August. Each day will be divided into a morning session (9am – 12pm) and an afternoon session (12pm – 3pm). Please let me know if you can contribute half a day (or more!) to this event. It is a lot of fun, and you will be helping to inspire our next generation of scientists.
 
I am also seeking ideas for activities for the stall, if you have anything that would make a good demonstration or quick hands-on activity please let me know.
 
For inquiries, please contact Nick Coleman at:
 
School of Molecular Bioscience – Faculty of Science
THE UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY
Rm 564, Building G08, The University of Sydney
NSW, AUSTRALIA 2006
Phone: +61 2 9351 6047
Event Date: 
Wednesday, April 29, 2015 - 18:00 - 18:15
Institution: 
University of New South Wales (UNSW)
Title: 

Bacterial secondary metabolite prodigiosin inhibit biofilm development by cleaving extracellular DNA

Abstract: 

Prodigiosin a bacterial secondary metabolite is a heterocyclic compound belongs to the class of tripyrrole, synthesized by various strains of bacteria includes Serratia species. Research on prodigiosin is under limelight for past 10 years from clinical and pharmacological aspects in relevance to its potential to be drug for cancer therapy by inducing apoptosis in several cancer cell lines. Reports suggest that prodigiosin promotes oxidative damage to DNA in presence of copper ion and consequently lead to inhibition of cell-cycle progression and inducing cell death. However, prodigiosin has not been previously implicated in biofilm inhibition. We performed experiments to reveal any link between prodigiosin and biofilm inhibition through degradation of extracellular DNA which plays a major role in biofilm establishment. Our study showed that prodigiosin (extracted from Serratia culture) has strong DNA cleaving property but does not intercalate with nitrogenous bases of DNA. Using P. aeruginosa PA14 wild-type strain as a model organism we showed that bacterial cells treated with prodigiosin showed significant reduction in its cells surface hydrophobicity and consequently affecting surface energies and physico-chemical property essential for bacterial adhesion and aggregation. We also found that prodigiosin did not influence planktonic growth of P. aeruginosa however, was successful in inhibiting the establishment of biofilms includes decrease in biofilm thickness, adhesion to substratum, decrease in biovolume, microcolony formation and also significantly dispersed pre-established biofilm of P. aeruginosa. This novel function on the biofilm inhibition of prodigiosin could be used to interfere with risks associated with bacterial biofilms. 

Hi all
 
Please be aware of the following courses being advertised to run at HIE in the next few months. These are a good opportunity to hone your skills in essential and commonly-used science technologies.
 
1)      ‘Data Analysis And Visualization With R' Course - Monday 13th April to Friday 17th April 2015
 
The R statistical computing environment has become a standard for scientific data analysis, visualization and reproducible research. At the HIE, we offer an introductory course to help you climb the steep learning curve. This five-day course is aimed at postgraduate students and staff, and is for newcomers to R.
UWS staff and students can enrol at no charge.
Information at www.uws.edu.au/rcourse
 

Event Date: 
Wednesday, March 25, 2015 - 18:15 - 18:30
Institution: 
University of Florida / UWS
Title: 

Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus encodes a functional salicylic acid hydroxylase which degrades SA and contributes to the suppression of plant defence

Abstract: 

Salicylate (SA) is a plant hormone and plays important roles in plant defence. SA is synthesized in the chloroplast and transmitted in the phloem. SA hydroxylase is a flavoprotein monooxygenase with the enzyme activity of degradation of SA and is a proximal component of the naphthalene degradation pathway in many bacteria. Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus, the causal agent of the most devastating citrus disease, is phloem limited and encodes a SA hydroxylase. In this study, we have shown that the SA hydroxylase is functional in degrading SA and its analogs. Ca. L. asiaticus infected plants have reduced PR gene (PR1, PR2, and PR5) expression and SA accumulation in Duncan grapefruit and Valencia sweet orange in response to subsequent inoculation with Xanthomonas citri subsp. citri (Xac) Aw, which is nonpathogenic on both citrus varieties. Ca. L. asiaticus also increased citrus susceptibility to subsequent infection by X. citri. The bacterial populations of XacA and XacAw in grapefruit were significantly higher in Ca. L. asiaticus infected plants compared to healthy control. Our data suggest that Ca. L. asiaticus encodes a functional salicylic acid hydroxylase which degrades SA and contributes to the suppression of plant defence. To counteract this virulence mechanism of Ca. L. asiaticus, foliar spray of SA analogs 2, 6-Dichloroisonicotinic acid (INA) and 2,1,3-Benzothiadiazole (BTH) and SA producing bacterial isolates was conducted to control HLB in large scale field trials. Both INA and BTH in combination with selected bacterial strains slowed down the increase of Ca. L. asiaticus titers in planta and HLB disease severity compared to negative control. SA hydroxylase seems to be an ideal target to develop small molecule inhibitors since no human homolog is present and it is not essential for bacterial growth, hence, the possibility of resistance development is minimized.      Salicylate (SA) is a plant hormone and plays important roles in plant defence. SA is synthesized in the chloroplast and transmitted in the phloem. SA hydroxylase is a flavoprotein monooxygenase with the enzyme activity of degradation of SA and is a proximal component of the naphthalene degradation pathway in many bacteria. Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus, the causal agent of the most devastating citrus disease, is phloem limited and encodes a SA hydroxylase. In this study, we have shown that the SA hydroxylase is functional in degrading SA and its analogs. Ca. L. asiaticus infected plants have reduced PR gene (PR1, PR2, and PR5) expression and SA accumulation in Duncan grapefruit and Valencia sweet orange in response to subsequent inoculation with Xanthomonas citri subsp. citri (Xac) Aw, which is nonpathogenic on both citrus varieties. Ca. L. asiaticus also increased citrus susceptibility to subsequent infection by X. citri. The bacterial populations of XacA and XacAw in grapefruit were significantly higher in Ca. L. asiaticus infected plants compared to healthy control. Our data suggest that Ca. L. asiaticus encodes a functional salicylic acid hydroxylase which degrades SA and contributes to the suppression of plant defence. To counteract this virulence mechanism of Ca. L. asiaticus, foliar spray of SA analogs 2, 6-Dichloroisonicotinic acid (INA) and 2,1,3-Benzothiadiazole (BTH) and SA producing bacterial isolates was conducted to control HLB in large scale field trials. Both INA and BTH in combination with selected bacterial strains slowed down the increase of Ca. L. asiaticus titers in planta and HLB disease severity compared to negative control. SA hydroxylase seems to be an ideal target to develop small molecule inhibitors since no human homolog is present and it is not essential for bacterial growth, hence, the possibility of resistance development is minimized.      

Event Date: 
Wednesday, February 25, 2015 - 18:00 - 18:30
Institution: 
San Diego State University
Title: 

Integrating microbial community dynamics into kelp forest ecosystem models

Abstract: 

Metagenomics has enabled a greater understanding of microbial community dynamics than previously realized and now the challenge is to integrate microbial dynamics into ecological models. My lab takes an ‘omics approach mixed with classical microbiology to identify factors affecting microbial communities and how an altered microbial community will affect macro-organism health and ecosystem functioning. The key habitats are coral reefs and kelp forests. Within the kelp forest, we have started with a culturing approach that has identified novel genomes associated with the giant kelp Macrocystis pyrifera. Phenotypic assessments of these bacteria have identified increase in the microbe’s ability to tolerate copper and resist antibiotics with increasing human activities. We have tested the effects of altered microbial abundance and community composition on survival and development of M. pyrifera gametophytes. Decreasing microbial abundance enhanced M. pyrifera recruitment, increasing zoospore settlement and gametophyte development. Gametophytes reared in microbial communities sampled adjacent to the populated city showed lower survival and growth compared to gametophytes in microbial communities from a remote island. Metagenomics revealed a high abundance of phototrophic and oligotrophic microbes from the island, compared with an abundance of eutrophic microbes adjacent to the city. In addition, microbes adjacent to the city lacked genes that produce quorum signaling molecules, negatively influencing kelp spore settlement. Long term analyses of the microbial communities from the kelp forest have been initiated and we are currently investigating the microbes associated with the water column and kelp surface at two distinct depth. First, at 0.5 m depth where the water is warmer, highly oxygenated and receiving large amounts of carbon from photosynthesis and second, at 15 m depth where the water is under seasonal thermocline, colder, lower in oxygen, and can potentially be exposed to high partial pressure of carbon dioxide. Monthly sampling has revealed microbial number is lower at depth and pCO2 is higher. Metagenomic analysis of these samples is under way. Kelp feeds the ecosystem through degradation and we are currently investigating the effects of microbes on kelp degradation and subsequent nutritional value. We have shown altered microbial communities are detrimental to kelp recruitment and are identifying way of adding these data to ecosystem models.

Registration is now available!

The 4th Annual JAMS Symposium will be held on Wednesday the 25th of February 2015 at the Australian Museum followed by an evening meal amongst the dinosaurs. We have a fantastic guest speaker line up for the symposium including Colin Murrell, Stefan Wuertz, Lisa Moore and Kat Holt. We promise no less than a night to remember.

Attention students! There is a student poster session with a prize of $500 for the winner.

The symposium and dinner will be preceded by a two day workshop (23rd - 24th February) also at the museum. The main purpose being to introduce postgrads and early career postdocs to current approaches used in scruitinising microbial community and genomic datasets. 

This year's workshop is hands-on and will require a 64bit laptop with a minimum of 2GB of memory. Attendees will also need to install VirtualBox. Workshop registration cost is $290.

Registration and payment for both events is being provided through EventBrite. Please follow the links provided below.

Register for the 4th Annual Symposium and Dinner.

Register for the 2014 TOAST Workshop

 

A commemorative t-shirt is available on registration for either event, the design can be seen in the attachment below and at registration time.

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