How the meningococcus finds the balance between genetic variation and stability

Friday seminar by Ole Herman Ambur

Abstract

 

Neisseria meningitidis is a feared pathogenic bacterium that resides in the human throat as a commensal but and may occasionally enter the bloodstream and cause epidemic disease. Both the need to omit the host’s immune system by varying the surface exposed structures and the need to maintain core functions are strong selective forces that has shaped the meningococcal genome over evolutionary time. I will give examples of how we study these phenomena in the lab. Finally I will present a hypothesis on how I believe that horizontal gene transfer is the cause of meningococcal genetic stability and hence how sex may be a conservative function of nature.

Ole Herman Ambur
The Centre for Molecular Biology and Neuroscience (CMBN) and University of Oslo

 

Published Feb. 6, 2012 12:51 PM