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News : Microbiology Society Annual Conference Poster Prize Winners

10 May 2017

Microbiology Society Journals held poster prizes at the Annual Conference 2017. Microbiology, Journal of General Virology and Microbial Genomics awarded prizes to a number of posters from each session. Below are the winners with a summary of their award-winning posters.

Journal of General Virology

Amy Barker: Targeting the RNA Packaging Signal-Mediated Assembly of ssRNA Viruses with Drugs (Antivirals and Vaccines)
Secondary structures in genomic RNA provide scaffolding for cooperative coat-protein recruitment and virus assembly (Stockley et al. 2013). Using bacteriophage MS2 as a model, RNA-binding ligands selected against genomic RNA stem-loops were identified. Data here suggests that it is possible to develop specific drugs that target viral assembly involving RNA-CP contacts.

Mosaab Elsheikh: Seroreactivity to three distinct regions within the hepatitis C virus Alternative Reading Frame Protein (ARFP / Core+1) in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (Clinical Virology Network)
The alternative reading frame protein (ARFP /core+1) is encoded by an open reading frame overlapping the hepatitis C virus (HCV) core gene in the +1 reading frame. In this study, sera taken from patients with HCV-associated HCC possess antibodies exhibiting strong reactivity against three ARFP peptides in our in-house ELISA. These data represent a possible role of ARFP in the pathogenesis of Hepatocellular cancer.

Joseph Lattimer: A structural and functional analysis of the non-primate hepacivirus (NPHV) 5' untranslated region (Evolution and Pathogenicity)
Using a combined structural and functional approach we identified individual bases that may be involved in NPHV 5'UTR IRES interactions with the 40S ribosomal subunit, and eIF3, during translation initiation. We also demonstrated that miR122 acts to upregulate translation, which is mediated by a seed site located in the 5'UTR.

Gareth Shimmon: Autophagy impairment by African swine fever virus (Gene Expression and Regulation)
This work investigates the mechanisms of autophagy modulation by African swine fever virus, the causative agent of a lethal haemorrhagic disease of domestic pigs. We hope by uncovering these mechanisms that we may be able to alter the effects for the purpose of engineering a vaccine strain with improved immunogenicity.

Harry Wilson: A systematic approach to identify Interferon Stimulated Genes (ISGs) with antiviral potential against Ebola virus (Immune Immunity)
Although antagonism of the interferon system is essential for Ebolavirus replication in vivo, little is known about which of the upregulated interferon stimulated genes (ISGs) have antiviral activity against the virus. We are characterizing the effect of interferons and mammalian ISGs on EBOV transcription and replication competent virus-like particles (trVLPs).

Yunhui Zhuang: Investigating the role of pUL21 during herpes simplex virus-1 replication (Morphogenesis, Egress and Entry)
pUL21 is a tegument protein thought to function in herpes simplex virus (HSV) virion assembly. In my poster, I investigated interaction between pUL21 and protein phosphatase 1 (PP1) using immunoprecipitation and immunofluorescence microscopy techniques. In addition, the effects of PP1 inhibitors on HSV replication and protein expression were examined.

Claire Ham: Biodistribution and viral kinetics of Zika virus infection in Old and New World Non-human Primates (Pathogenesis)
Describes the primary viral kinetics of Zika virus (Puerto Rico) in three primate species, two old-world (macaque) and one new (tamarin). All three species were productively infected with vRNA detectable in tissues even after resolution of the primary viraemia. These species represent comparative model animals for pathogenesis and vaccine studies.

Microbiology

Yasir Alabdali: SpoVD a penicillin binding protein involved in sporulation and cephalosporin resistance (Anaerobes in infection) I study the spore cortex PBP SpoVD in the antibiotic resistant pathogen C. difficile. Surprisingly a spoVD mutant displays cephalosporin sensitivity in addition to the expected sporulation defect. We also showed that growing cells express SpoVD and that interaction with SpoVE is crucial for both spore assembly and cephalosporin resistance.

Naji Bassil: Microbial degradation of cellulose and its alkali hydrolysis products; implications for radwaste geodisposal (Geomicrobiology) Intermediate-level radioactive waste will be disposed of in a cementitious geological disposal facility that provides a multiple barriers against radionuclide contamination of the biosphere. Our work showed that microorganisms in the subsurface can potentially survive the extreme conditions in the facility and play a role in reducing radionuclide movement.

Shu-Sin Chng and Rahul Shrivastava: Outer membrane lipid homeostasis via retrograde phospholipid transport (Microbial Cell Surfaces)
The Tol-Pal complex is a trans-envelope machine that is important for OM stability in Gram-negative bacteria; however, its physiological function remains elusive. In this poster, we establish roles for the Tol-Pal complex in OM lipid homeostasis, and in phospholipid transport from the outer to inner membranes in Escherichia coli.

Marie–Louise Francis: Following colicin translocation to the Escherichia coli cytoplasm one molecule at a time (Macromolecular Machines)
This research shows the development of fluorescence widefield and TIRF microscopy methods for investigating the import of single colicin E9 bacteriocin molecules in Escherichia coli. Using this method we have for the first time visualised the translocation of individual colicin molecules across both membranes to the cytoplasm of E. coli.

Théophile Grébert: Global distribution and ecology of photosynthetic pigment types of the marine Synechococcus picocyanobacteria (Environmental and Applied Microbiology Forum)
Marine Synechococcus sp. displays a wide diversity of photosynthetic pigments, allowing it to colonize the varied spectral niches occurring in the oceans. Using metagenomics, we described the distribution and environmental niches of Synechococcus “pigment types”, revealing how pigmentation, phylogeny and environmental conditions interplay to shape populations of this ubiquitous cyanobacterium.

Nathaniel Holman: Structure activity relationships in glycosyl transferases involved in protein O-mannosylation in the Actinobacteria (Microbial Physiology, Metabolism and Molecular Mechanisms Forum)
Bioinformatics approaches have identified candidate residues for mutagenesis in two conserved glycosyl transferases (Ppm1 and Pmt). Aggregation issues have prevented the purification of homogenous S. coelicolor Ppm1 and optimisation is ongoing. Promisingly, our in vivo assays can be used to characterise Ppm1 mutants, with deficiencies in glycosylation leading to antibiotic hypersensitivity and phage resistance phenotypes.

Axel Janssen: Evolution of colistin resistance in clinical Klebsiella pneumoniae isolates and its impact on fitness and virulence characteristics (Prokaryotic Genetics and Genomics Forum)
Klebsiella pneumoniae has emerged as an important cause of multidrug-resistant infections, necessitating treatment with the last-resort antibiotic colistin. We show that clinical K. pneumoniae isolates rapidly evolve colistin resistance in vitro through multiple evolutionary pathways. Colistin resistance affects the composition of the outer membrane and virulence characteristics of K. pneumoniae.

Courtney Kousser: Fungal and bacterial secreted factors regulate mucormycete germination (Heterogeneity and Polymicrobial Interactions in Biofilms)
Mycomycetes are found ubiquitously in the environment and in wounds, where they encounter a myriad of bacteria and fungi including Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Here we show that supernatants from P. aeruginosa inhibit the germination of Rhizopus microsporus. Work thus far indicates P. aeruginosa secretes siderophores, sequestering available iron and inhibiting germination.

Lizeth Lacharme–Lora: The embryonated chicken egg as an alternative infection model for Salmonella (Prokaryotic Microbial Infection Forum)
The embryonated chicken egg as a Salmonella infection model was presented. Mutants known to be attenuated in other models were tested; our model correlated with previous models but, unlike previous models, our model does not require use of animals. The chicken embryo is a promising novel infection model for Salmonella.

Michael Norman: Flavocytochrome at the microbe-mineral interface of Shewanella oneidensis under mineral respiring conditions (Geomicrobiology)
Evidence for a conserved disulphide bond acting as an oxygen sensitive switch in Shewanella oneidensis to control the formation of a reactive flavocytochrome on the bacterial cell surface. Shedding light on extracellular electron transfer and highlighting protein level control on the system.

Philip Weyrauch: Elucidation of a dearomatising reductase reaction involved in anaerobic degradation of naphthalene (Environmental and Applied Microbiology Forum)
We elucidated the 5,6,7,8-tetrahydro-2-naphthoyl-CoA reductase reaction in cell free extracts of sulphate-reducing naphthalene degraders by testing different electron donors. Our data indicate that the reduced ferredoxins required for this reaction are delivered via a 2-oxoglutarate:ferredoxin oxidoreductase and that the downstream pathway proceeds via β-oxidation-like reactions with water addition to hexahydro-2-naphthoyl-CoA.

Microbial Genomics

Rodrigo Bacigalupe: Population genomics of Legionellosis linked to growing media samples reveals hidden complexities of source attribution
Legionella longbeachae is an emerging pathogen in Europe and the United States but our understanding of its population diversity from patient and environmental sources is limited. Our population genomic analysis revealed extensive recombination and environmental sample complexity that complicates outbreak investigations.

Congratulations to all those who won a Microbiology Society Journal sponsored poster prize!

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