College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

DNA sensing in Bacillus subtilis

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

DNA sensing in Bacillus subtilis

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

1:00 p.m. Room 202 MRB

Professor Christopher V. Rao

Professor
Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


Chemotaxis is the process where cells move in response to external chemical gradients. It has mainly been viewed as a foraging and defense mechanism, enabling bacteria to move towards nutrients or away from toxins. We recently found that the Gramā€positive bacterium Bacillus subtilis performs chemotaxis towards DNA. While DNA can serve as a nutrient for B. subtilis, our results suggest that the chemotaxis response is not to the DNA itself but rather to the information encoded within the DNA. In particular, we found that B. subtilis prefers the DNA from more closely related species. These results suggest that B. subtilis seeks out specific sequences that are likely more abundant in its own and related chromosomes. In this talk, I will discuss the mechanism of DNA sensing and chemotaxis in B. subtilis. I will conclude by discussing the physiological significance of DNA chemotaxis with regards to competence and kin identification.



One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
—ALA
5th nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets: Colleges," Military Times
KU Today