IMEDEA Calendar
Mar 7th May
12:00 pm
1:00 pm
SEMINARIO JB Raina (UT Sydney) - Uncovering complex chemically mediated microbial behaviours


The ability of marine bacteria to direct their movement in response to chemical gradients influences inter-species interactions, nutrient turnover, and ecosystem productivity. While natural chemical hotspots produce gradients comprised of hundreds to thousands of different chemical compounds, we do not know how this chemical diversity affects the chemotactic responses of bacteria. I will present results from two studies that reveal some unexpected responses when bacteria are exposed to complex chemical mixtures. Using in situ and laboratory-based assays, we show that marine bacteria are strongly attracted to the abundant algal polysaccharide laminarin, but chemotaxis towards this large molecule is enhanced by dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP), another ubiquitous algal-derived metabolite. Our results indicate that DMSP acts as a methyl donor for marine bacteria, increasing their gradient detection capacity and facilitating their access to polysaccharide patches. Using a novel chemotaxis choice assay, we then directly expose a model marine bacterium to four potent chemoattractants simultaneously (i.e., one monosaccharide and three amino acids). Although the bacterium is strongly chemotactic to each of these molecules in isolation, when these four molecules are provided simultaneously, the cells exhibit a striking response by swimming towards only one of them. These results start shedding light on the synergistic effects (e.g., laminarin and DMSP) and sharp chemical preferences modulating the behaviours of bacteria.

Sala de Reuniones, 2ª planta, IMEDEA
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