Welcome to UCMR Distinguished Guests Seminar Series
April 14th 2021, 14:00-15:00 Venue: via Zoom
Pascale Cossart Pasteur Institute, France Title of the talk: “Infection Biology in the era of microbiomes: the Listeria paradigm” Host PI: Jörgen Johansson
Bio of the speaker: Pascale Cossart, after studying chemistry in Lille (France) obtained a master degree at Georgetown University, Washington, DC. Back in France, she obtained her PhD in Paris in the Institut Pasteur where she has headed the « Bacteria-Cell Interactions »unit , also an Inserm and an INRA unit, until recently. After studying DNA-protein interactions, in E. coli, she started in 1986, to study the molecular and cellular basis of infections by intracellular bacteria taking as a model the bacterial pathogen Listeria monocytogenes. Pascale Cossart pioneered the field of Cellular Microbiology. Her research has led to new concepts in infection biology but also in fundamental microbiology (in particular RNA biology), in cell biology and also in epigenetics. Her contributions have been recognized by a number of awards, including the Robert Koch Prize (2007), the Louis Jeantet Prize for Medicine (2008), the Balzan Prize(2013), the Heinrich Wieland prize (2018), and the NAS Selman Waksman Award (2021). She is a member of the French Academy of Science (2002), a foreign member of the American National Academy of Science (NAS) (2009), of the German Leopoldina (2001), of the Royal Society (2010) and the National Academy of Medecine (NAM) (2014). Since January 2016, she is Secrétaire Perpétuel at the French Academy of Sciences.
May 5th 2021, 15:00-16:00 Venue: via Zoom
Scott Hultgrent Washington University, USA Title of the talk: “UTI Complexity at the Bacterial-Host Interface: Blueprint for Antibiotic-sparing Therapeutics” Host PI: Fredrik Almqvist
Bio of the speaker: Scott Hultgren, Helen Lehbrink Stoever Professor of Molecular Microbiology and Director of the Center for Women’s Infectious Disease Research at Washington University in St. Louis, received his Ph.D. at Northwestern University, and postdoctoral training with Staffan Normark at Umeå, Sweden. He was elected to the National Academies of Sciences (2011) Medicine (2017) and Inventors (2020); and is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has received Washington University Distinguished Investigator and 2nd Century Awards, the Eli Lilly award, St. Louis Science Academy’s Fellows Award, a Nobel Fellowship, an NIH Merit grant, an honorary Doctor of Philosophy at Umeå University, a Shipley Lecturership at Harvard University and been named a College Luminary by Indiana University. He has also chaired a Gordon Conference on Microbial Attachment and co-chaired the national “Moving into the Future: New Dimensions and Strategies for Women’s Health Research” conference sponsored by ORWH/NIH and Washington University.
All scientists and staff members within UCMR (Umeå Centre for Microbial Research) research groups, collaboration partners and researchers with an interest in microbial research and/or infection biology are invited to a day of inspiring research presentations and an excellent opportunity for networking and initiation of multidisciplinary collaborations. Due to the ongoing pandemic, our UCMR DAY will be organised as a digital conference.
Emmanuelle Charpentier, Nobel laureate in Chemistry 2020 Stefan Pöhlmann UCMR Alumna, and honorary doctor at Umeå University Head of the Infection Biology Unit, University of Göttingen Mentor of the EC - "Excellence by Choice" postdoctoral programme "SARS-CoV-2 entry into cells and its inhibition" of UCMR and MIMS
Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2020 to Emmanuelle Charpentier
UCMR Alumna Emmanuelle Charpentier
Awarded Nobel Prize in Chemisty 2020
Emmanuelle Charpentier, Max Planck Unit for the Science of Pathogens, Berlin, Germany, and Jennifer A. Doudna University of California, Berkeley, USA, receive the Nobel Prize in Chemisty for "developing a method of genome editing".
Emmanuelle Charpentier was one of the first recruited group leaders at the Laboratory for Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden, MIMS, within the Umeå Centre for Microbial Research (UCMR) at Umeå University. During Emmanuelle Charpentier’s studies on Streptococcus pyogenes, she discovered a new molecule, tracrRNA, which together with CRISPR RNA and Cas9 play an important role in activation of the CRISPR-Cas system's defense mechanism in the pathogen Streptococcus pyogenes and other bacteria. She published the finding in 2011 in Nature. In the same year, she initiated a collaboration with Jennifer Doudna. Together, they showed how the bacterial protein Cas9 led by two guide RNAs (crRNA and tracrRNA) can identify targets in invading genes. They also showed how the system can be readily reprogrammed to be applied on any gene - which has proven to be a very versatile gene editing tool. This work was published 2012 in Science.
Make it or break it: how bacteria balance production and degradation of the ‘magic spot’ signaling alarmone
[2020-05-11] When stressed or starved, bacteria regulate their metabolism by producing signalling molecules called alarmones or ‘magic spots’. In the majority of bacteria, the magic spot compounds are both made and destroyed by a large, complex enzyme called Rel. The question of how Rel switches from making the alarmone to degrading it was finally resolved by an international team from Sweden – Vasili Hauryliuk (MIMS & UCMR) – and Belgium: Jelle Hendrix (Hasselt University) and Abel Garcia-Pino (Université Libre de Bruxelles). The results of this study were published in the high impact journal Nature Chemical Biology ("A nucleotide-switch mechanism mediates opposing catalytic activities of Rel enzymes", 11 May 2020).
The team have studied a Rel enzyme from a thermophilic bacterium Thermusthermophilus using a combination of structural (X-ray), biochemical (enzymology) and biophysical (single molecule FRET assays and Isothermal Titration Calorimetry). Since the T.thermophilus has an optimal growth temperature of about 65 °C, by solving the structures at room temperature the researchers could slow down the enzyme enough to ‘catch’ it in the act of synthesising or degrading the alarmone. It turned out that binding of the substrates to the active site region (domain) that is responsible for synthesis of the ‘magic spot’ allosterically inhibits the domain responsible for its degradation – and vice versa, binding of the substrates to the degradation domain inhibits the synthesis domain. This simple but elegant mechanism ensures that bacteria avoid wasteful production and degradation of the magic spot signalling molecule. Biochemical characterisation of T.thermophilus was performed in Umeå by Dr. Hiraku Takada who is supported by a personal postdoctoral fellowship from the Umeå Centre for Microbial Research (UCMR).