Despite miserable weather conditions, a sizeable crowd gathered at the Australian museum for the first JAMS meeting of 2012.

Dean Procter from the University of Sydney kicked off with our first virology talk of the year at JAMS. He introduced us to the live virus vaccine used to eradicate smallpox, Vaccinia virus. It encodes three BTB-Kelch protein orthologues in the Ubiquitin-Proteasome System, where host cell proteins are selectively degraded. This mechanism can prevent the establishment of an antiviral immune response enabling it to become a viral production factory enhancing viral spread. The identification of the substrates may indicate new mechanisms by which these viruses overcome cellular defenses to cause infection.

Event Date: 
Wednesday, January 25, 2012 - 19:15 - 20:00
University of Technology Sydney

The unusual life and cell cycles of extreme Archaea


Environments that pose chemical and physical challenges to life generally provide a less competitive habitat to those organisms that can adapt to these “extreme” environments. Of the three domains of life, the Archaea have proven to be the most successful in this regard; some environments are almost exclusively inhabited by archaea, with few or no representatives from the bacterial and eukaryotic domains. Archaea in such environments show some unusual properties that are thought to be related to adaption or a lack of inter-species competition. My research has focussed on the molecular cell biology of two model species of extreme archaea; Sulfolobus solfataricus, which lives in sulphurous hot springs with optimal growth at around 80 C and pH 2-3, and Haloferax volcanii, which lives in high-salt environments such as the salt lakes in Australia and the “Dead” sea in Israel. Genomic and cell cycle studies of these species have shown that genetic multiplicity is a common theme in Archaea. Multiple chromosomes, DNA replication origins, and paralogs of cell-cycle related genes are evident in these species. In this seminar, I will present cell cycle and cell biological studies and I will discuss how the basic cell biological features of archaea might relate to their adaption to extreme environments.

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