How bacteria generate functional diversity – From cell differentiation to virulence and back
Speaker: Urs Jenal
Host: Samuel Wagner (CMFI)
Hörsaal 3M07, Geo- und Umweltforschungszentrum (GUZ)
Bacteria are masters in adapting to different environments by gradually adjusting their physiology and resilience or by functionally diversifying through cell differentiation processes. Distinct behavioral programs either result from cell polarity and asymmetric divisions or arise through binary decisions producing functionally heterogenous populations. In this lecture, I will discuss how bacterial cell fate programs are determined by the small signaling molecule c-di-GMP, a member of a growing family of highly versatile nucleotide-based signaling molecules that control important biological processes in bacteria and eukaryotes. I will explain how c-di-GMP oscillations determine cell fate and behavior in different nonpathogenic and pathogenic bacteria and I will present examples for how stochastic distributions of c-di-GMP generate population heterogeneity and memory effects during developmental transitions.