Kerensa McElroy (UNSW) started us off immersing the audience in deep sequencing in order to understand pathogen evolution in biofilms. Two model pathogens, Phaeobacter gallaeciensis and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, were used to grow biofilms under conditions that select for reproducible phenotypic diversification. Variations in the genetic structure were revealed addressing different stages of biofilm development. Kerensa could describe genetic variation accurately and comprehensively within evolving populations using her established approach in genome-wide deep sequencing.
A proteomic interrogation of flagellum function
The eukaryotic flagellum is involved in an array of biological processes and is implicated in an ever-growing spectrum of inherited human disease. Trypanosoma brucei, the causative agent of sleeping sickness in humans, produces a single flagellum that is essential in many critical aspects of cell biology and pathogenicity. Here we employ a combined approach utilising reverse genetics and comparative proteomics to interrogate the protein composition of the paraflagellar rod, an accessory structure of the trypanosome flagellum that is required for correct flagellum function. We have identified more than twenty novel components and confirmed the localisation of a large test set by epitope tagging. This discovery process was iterated to identify at least two co-dependent sub-groups of proteins. The protein domain characteristics of the sub-groups suggest a link between calcium sensing and adenine nucleotide homeostasis in the paraflagellar rod which has wider implications for the regulation of flagellum function generally.