Genomic, cell biological, and biochemical mosaics in bacteria-animal endosymbioses

Genomic, cell biological, and biochemical mosaics in bacteria-animal endosymbioses

  • Date: Sep 24, 2020
  • Time: 17:00 - 18:00
  • Speaker: Prof. Dr. John McCutcheon, University of Arizona, USA
  • https://biodesign.asu.edu/john-mccutcheon
  • Location: virtual platform
  • Host: Paul Rainey/ Loukas Theodosiou
Genomic, cell biological, and biochemical mosaics in bacteria-animal endosymbioses

Mitochondria and chloroplasts are now called organelles, but they used to be bacteria. While a great deal is known about how organelles work in extant cells, understanding the genetic, biochemical, and cell biological events that happened during the transition from 'bacterial endosymbiont' to 'organelle’ is obscured by both time and by a lack of comparative examples. Surprisingly, some of the best comparative models for organelle formation to emerge in the last ten years are the bacterial endosymbionts of sap-feeding insects. My lab has been trying to understand how these host-beneficial endosymbionts originated, how they now function with such small gene sets, and how they have become integrated into the cell biology of their host cells. In this talk I will show how two bacterial endosymbionts work together with their insect host to build a peptidoglycan (PG) layer specifically at one of the two bacterial cell peripheries. I will discuss how these results parallel the genetic, biochemical, and cell biological mosaicism found in mitochondria and plastids, and try to convince you that these insect systems might be good models for understanding the endosymbiont to organelle transition.

If you are interested in participating, please contact Britta Baron, baron@evolbio.mpg.de.

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