University of Cambridge > > Plant Sciences Departmental Seminars > Competition and conjugation: the tale of antibiotic resistance spreading in three colours

Competition and conjugation: the tale of antibiotic resistance spreading in three colours

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DNA transfer via conjugation plays a major role in the dissemination of antibiotic resistance among medically significant bacterial species. In this study, we developed a technique for visualising spatial distribution of conjugating bacterial population on a solid surface. Populations of donor, recipient and transconjugant cells can be distinguished using three different fluorescent reporters. We show that the fractal dimension of the interface between donor and recipient populations determines population-level conjugation efficiency. Additionally, competition for nutrients available at colony borders results in stochastic loss of cell diversity and increases variability of observed conjugation frequencies across different colonies. Our ability to monitor the dynamics of conjugation especially in the context of growth and competition within bacterial population would lead to better understanding of how antibiotic resistance spreads and how we might prevent it.

This talk is part of the Plant Sciences Departmental Seminars series.

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