Molecular secrets of 7th pandemic V. cholerae
Speaker: Melanie Blokesch (EPFL)
Host: Karl Forchhammer (IMIT)
Hörsaal 3M07, Geo- und Umweltforschungszentrum (GUZ)
Cholera is a devastating diarrheal disease that sickens millions of people each year. Despite incredible progress over the past hundred years in our understanding of the pathogen’s virulence mechanisms, the environmental aspects of the causative agent of the disease, the bacterium Vibrio cholerae, have so far been insufficiently studied at the molecular level. In my talk, I will address this knowledge gap and present insights into the pathogen’s environmental lifestyle including its potential for interbacterial competition on biotic surfaces and its evolvability. I will also show how the bacterium defends itself against mobile genetic elements such as plasmids and phages, which involves dedicated DNA defense systems that are in part unique to the seventh pandemic clade of this cholera bacteria. I will end my talk with speculations on how these features might have shaped the evolution of the most successful lineage of pandemic V. cholerae.