When we think about bacteria, we usually don’t think about the fact that their fiercest enemies may be other bacteria who are competing for the same limited environmental resources. Dr. Michele LeRoux explains that when bacteria establish and maintain communities, their interactions with one another can turn deadly. She focuses on a pathway that bacteria can use to kill their bacterial competitors, called the type six secretion system (T6SS). This secretion system is a molecular syringe made up of proteins that can inject toxins into neighboring cells. Studying this system in the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa, she discovered a novel mechanism by which bacteria sense the death of members of their community and launch a counterattack. Her results explain how P. aeruginosa cells know when to activate T6SS to attack competing bacteria and protect the community from danger.
This talk is part of the Young Scientist Seminars, a video series produced that features young scientists giving talks about their research and discoveries.
Dr. Michele LeRoux completed her Bachelor’s degree in Molecular Biology at Colgate University. For her graduate work, she joined the Molecular and Cellular Biology Doctorate program at the University of Washington, where she worked with Dr. Joseph Mougous studying bacterial social behavior and interspecies warfare. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of… Continue Reading