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Cell and developmental biology of Streptomyces

We investigate fundamental problems in bacterial cell biology using Streptomyces coelicolor as our model organism. The work follows three interrelated lines of investigation as outlined below. These research areas are presented in detail on three separate pages.

Compartmentalized gene expression during Streptomyces sporulation.
Compartmentalized gene expression during Streptomyces sporulation.

Apical growth

A new mechanism for establishment of cell polarity and polarized cell wall growth is investigated. This is independent of the actin-like MreB, which determines cell shape in several other bacteria, and relies instead on the coiled-coil-rich protein DivIVA. Regulatory mechanisms that control this process are also investigated. More on apical growth.

Cell differentiation

Our aim is to identify proteins and mechanisms directly involved in the dramatic developmental re-regulation of growth, cell shape, cell division, and chromosome segregation that occur during sporulation of Streptomyces. More on cell differentiation.

Developmentally controlled cell division

We investigate mechanisms that regulate the assembly dynamics and function of the bacterial tubulin FtsZ, which is the key step in bacterial cell division. The developmentally controlled cell division in S. coelicolor provides a unique and powerful model system for these studies. More on developmentally controlled cell division.

Our studies of essential functions like cell wall growth and cell division yield knowledge on potential antibiotic targets for actinomycete pathogens such as the mycobacteria, and we are exploring our experimental systems in order to develop screens for compounds that inhibit them. Furthermore, since our research aims at understanding the control of tip growth, hyphal branching, mycelium fragmentation (by cell division), and how this can be manipulated, it is directly applicable in the industrial use of streptomycetes as producers of antibiotics and other valuable compounds for medicine and agriculture.

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