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[Frontier Leaders Seminars] A Multiscale Analysis of Bacterial Predation

Tâm Mignot

When 08 Jun, 2021 from
11:00 am to 12:00 pm
Where ITQB NOVA Virtual Auditorium
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Frontier Leaders Seminar


Title: A Multiscale Analysis of Bacterial Predation

Speaker: Tâm Mignot

Affiliation: French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), Aix Marseille University, France

Host: Maria Miragaia

Zoom link:

 Meeting ID: 921 4379 8014

 Passcode: 989632


A current challenge in developmental biology is to bridge molecular and multicellular scales. This task is especially complex in animals given that the dimension gap spans several orders of magnitude. In this context, multicellular microbes can be especially powerful model systems because their lifecycle rarely exceeds a few days and it can be captured over relatively small surfaces in devices as simple as a petri dish. In addition, these organisms allow sophisticated genetic manipulations and imaging approaches.

In our laboratory, we study Myxococcus xanthus for its ability to predate and develop collectively over other microbial preys. During this presentation, I will present an interdisciplinary approach combining genetics, quantitative imaging and mathematical modelling to decipher how Myxococcus cells invade their preys collectively and form periodic cellular waves over macroscopic scales spanning entire prey colonies.  In a nutshell, we identified the main prey killing mechanism, which directly allows Myxococcus cells to extract nutrients from prey cells. Wave formation is subsequently induced as the predatory cells enter starvation and regroup at discrete sites following the spatial induction of a novel type of biochemical oscillator, the properties of which will be discussed. Thus, this example provides a promising experimental and theoretical framework to link molecular mechanisms to the formation of dynamic cellular patterns at the mesoscale.


Short Bio:

Tâm Mignot obtained his PhD in Pasteur Institute, France, in 2002 and did his Posdoc studies in The University of California/Berkely in USA. He then returned to France to the Laboratory of Bacterial Chemistry (CNRS/Aix-Marseille Université unit), of which he is presently the Director. In 2020 he was awarded the prestigious European Research Council (ERC) advanced grant.

Using interdisciplinary approaches (genetic, biophysics, biochemistry, cellular biology etc.), Mignot’s team studies the spatio-temporal organization of the lifecycle of the bacterial predator Myxococcus xanthus and tries to tackle several aspects of their physiology including motility, predation mechanism, survival mechanisms and community behavior. For more information see the website below


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