Victor de Lorenzo: Evolution as heterotic computing - How environmental bacteria conquest the chemical space

  • Date: Nov 28, 2018
  • Time: 02:00 PM - 03:00 PM (Local Time Germany)
  • Speaker: Victor de Lorenzo, Centro Nacional de Biotecnologia, CSIC, Madrid, Spain
  • More information on the speaker can be found here:
  • Location: MPI Plön
  • Room: Lecture hall
  • Host: Paul Rainey


The still-evolving 2,4-dinitrotoluene (DNT) pathway of Burkholderia cepacia R34 has been studied as a case of emergence of new metabolic capabilities in environmental bacteria. The dnt route originated from a precursor naphthalene degradation pathway and the first enzyme (DNT dioxygenase) maintains significant activity towards its earlier substrate. Both in vivo reactions and the associated regulatory system mediated by the DntR transcriptional factor indicate that reactive oxygen species (ROS) generated by the faulty (i.e. uncoupled) reaction of the precursor enzymes with DNT elicit genetic diversification. This could in turn ease the solution of the biochemical and physiological problem. These observations provide a view of evolution as a sort of heterotic computing in which the problem is embodied in the physicochemical frame of the cell and the exploration of the solution space is pushed by its endogenous dynamics.

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