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实验室

11:00-12:00, Thursday, November 8, 2018


Speaker: Zemer Gitai, Ph.D.

Professor

Department of Molecular Biology

Princeton University, USA

Topic: Mechano-microbiology: How Bacteria Sense and Respond to Physical Forces

Host: Lilin Du, Ph.D.

Abstract

Mechanical stimuli like fluid flow, surface rigidity, and matrix density are found throughout nature. While bacteria have long been known to sense and respond to chemical cues like nutrients and signaling molecules, I will discuss recent work from our lab about how bacteria also sense and respond to mechanical cues. Specifically, we find that bacterial pathogens like Pseudomonas aeruginosa improve their ability to colonize hosts through mechanisms that help them move upstream, against the direction of flow. Mechanosensing also helps these bacteria regulate virulence as by sensing surface stiffness they can induce virulence in a manner that is independent of the chemical composition of the host. Finally, other pathogens such as Vibrio cholera have evolved complex shapes to navigate through the mechanical features of matrices such as biofilms and gut mucus, thereby promoting their ability to successfully colonize human hosts. Together these studies reveal the previously-unappreciated importance of studying bacterial physiology in mechanically-realistic environments and suggest new avenues for combatting infectious disease.