Graduate Students Mini-Symposium VI 2022

Graduate Students Mini-Symposium


16:00 h Qinna Cui, AG Bischofs-Pfeifer

"Monovalent cations kill preferentially motile B. subtilis cells"

Bacillus subtilis has evolved several strategies for better survival under stress. Vegetative B. subtilis populations comprise a mixture of motile cells and sessile cells. Whether and how the different subpopulations vary with their response to stress is poorly studied. Here we show that monovalent cations efficiently kill motile cells under conditions of nutrient deprivation. Cell-type-specific lysis results from the upregulated expression of the lytABC operon in motile cells. The forced induction of the same operon in sessile cells also leads to cell lysis. Our data suggest that sessile cells are not necessarily better protected from stress. Instead motile cells seem to be sensitized to stress. Moreover, our preliminary data showed the possibility of LyC regulated motile cell lysing which therefore may contribute to the antimicrobial agent pulcherrimin production.

16:30 h Franziska Sendker, MPRG Hochberg

"Discovery of a protein fractal"

Fractals are complicated yet fascinating patterns that are self-similar across multiple length scales. Engineering fractals on a molecular level has become an ambitious objective while in nature they have never been observed. Here we report the discovery of a native protein that self-assembles into complexes closely resembling the famous Sierpiński triangle. By solving the structure of the first fractal order we identify its molecular building blocks and how they associate. We reveal catalytic differences between the separate assembly states which would allow physiological exploitation via allosteric regulation. Our findings additionally retrace the evolutionary path of how proteins gain structural complexity and potential regulatory mechanisms in simple mutational steps.

17:00 h Daniel Stukenberg, AG Becker

"Tool development for Vibrio natriegens and their application to study its rapid growth"

Vibrio natriegens is the fastest growing organism known to date with a doubling time of about 10 min, raising fundamental questions about microbial growth per se. In my presentation, I will first describe the development of multiple genetic tools for V. natriegens, which are indispensable for modern microbiology. Subsequently, I will discuss our approach to uncover the foundation of the rapid growth of V. natriegens. We hypothesize a highly efficient enzyme utilization in V. natriegens, which would allow a more protein efficient metabolism. To test this hypothesis, we reduce enzyme abundance using CRISPRi, track changes with a luminescence tag and ultimately correlate protein abundance with phenotypes.

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