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CCeMMP Seminar Series – Prof. Ariane Briegel – Special Seminar -November 2023

Cryo-Electron Tomography contributes to our understanding of bacterial interactions with their environment

How are bacterial cells able to actively seek out their preferred environmental niches? How can they evade toxins and predators? How do they interact with phages, each other and their host tissue? How can they adapt to thrive in changing environments? Cryo-electron tomography (cryo-ET) is the key research tool used to gain insight into the structure and function of the molecular complexes involved in these behaviors. This technique allows the direct study of microbes in their native state at resolutions capable of visualizing individual proteins. Ariane’s research provides insight into chemotactic behavior of bacteria, which allows motile cells to detect changes in nutrient concentrations and to navigate towards preferential environments. She uses this detailed knowledge for practical applications, such as the design of biosensors to detect human diseases. Ariane is also investigating specific adaptations of chemotaxis systems of human pathogens that use this system for infectivity. When bacteria sense environmental changes, they can adapt themselves to survive, both structurally and metabolically. Consequently, cells of the same species may have vastly different morphological and behavioral characteristics depending on the environment they are in. Ariane is investigating these morphological changes and their impact on the susceptibility to environmental stressors such as phage attacks.

Professor Ariane Briegel

Professor of Ultrastructural Biology/Co-director NeCEN

Leiden University