The interconnection between biofilm formation and horizontal gene transfer

Main area:Microbiology
Target group:Biology, Bioinformatics, Molecular Biomedicine
Educational level:Bachelor, Masters
Project description:

Over the last few years we have been studying natural plasmids that encode genes that enables biofilm formation. This research has indicated that biofilm formation and plasmid biology are interconnected and act as a positive loop that promotes both through various mechanisms. Grasping this connection helps us to understand how social bacterial traits can evolve and this is very important when looking at how, why, where and when bacteria evolve into e.g. pathogens or commensals of humans.

We have, until now, been looking specifically at plasmids that prime biofilm formation via type 3 fimbriae (typically incX1 plasmids), K88 fimbriae and type 4b shufflon pili (incI-cluster). We will be able to use these plasmids as the starting point of further research projects, which will be convenient as we already have the full nucleotide sequences, cloned alternative and knockout mutants available.

This project has multiple aspects and can be directed according to your interests, whether they lean towards medical microbiology, ecology, or sociomicrobiology. The main techniques you will be using are based in molecular biology

Keywords:Biofilm formation, Horizontal gene transfer, Social evolution, Sociomicrobiology, Molecular microbiology
Project home page:
Supervisor(s):  Søren J. Sørensen, Mette Burmølle og Jonas Stenløkke Madsen