University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Genetics Seminar  > Cheating in Pseudomnas aeruginosa drives switch to privatisation of an essential function

Cheating in Pseudomnas aeruginosa drives switch to privatisation of an essential function

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Caroline Newnham.

Host: Chris Illingworth

Pseudomonas aeruginosa colonises the lungs of patients with cystic fibrosis where they are able to persist for many years, despite intense antibiotic treatment. These long-term infections provide an opportunity to observe long-term dynamics of behaviour in a natural population of bacteria. I will talk about a study that uses a unique collection of clinical isolates to chart changes in the way bacterial cells harvest iron form the host environment. In the lab, strains that do not contribute resources towards iron harvesting, invade populations of cooperative wild type cells. This leads to loss of cooperative iron harvesting in the population and iron starvation. In the lung, we have discovered that cells escape this fate by switching to an alternative mechanism which is invulnerable to exploitation by their neighbours. This result highlights the challenges of identifying selection pressures experienced by bacterial cells living inside a human host.

This talk is part of the Genetics Seminar series.

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