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SLS and WMS Biomedical Microbiology Seminar: Lipid remodelling: does it play a role in virulence in Burkholderia cenocepacia? Dr Holly Shropshire, University of Warwick, School of Life Sciences

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Location: A151/MBU, WMS

Abstract: Lipid remodelling is a phenomenon where the membrane changes its lipid profile in response to a stimulus. In this case, we are investigating how the membrane lipid profile changes in response to phosphate limitation. In marine bacteria, this lipid remodelling pathway is driven by a phospholipase named PlcP. Our model organism is the opportunistic pathogen, Burkholderia cenocepacia, which mainly infects people with cystic fibrosis and is a problem in these patients due to its high intrinsic resistance to antimicrobials and unpredictable disease severity. In this seminar, I will discuss the work our group has done on investigating the link between the phosphate stress response and membrane lipid remodelling in B. cenocepacia using lipidomics. We show a PlcP homolog in B. cenocepacia was the driving force behind this lipid remodelling response. We also examine whether PlcP-driven lipid remodelling was involved in virulence using a Galleria mellonella infection model. We have also analysed the role of PlcP in intracellular survival in hemocytes and macrophages. Overall, our project has begun to unravel the lipid remodelling response to phosphate limitation in B. cenocepacia and how it is involved in virulence. Further research into the phosphate stress response of Burkholderia species may reveal new therapeutic targets and strategies for this genus of bacteria.

Biography: Dr. Holly Shropshire, postdoctoral research fellow in Prof. Yin Chen’s group at the University of Warwick. Holly migrated to the UK from Kuwait in 2013 to start her scientific career. Prior to her PhD at the University of Warwick, Holly undertook a BSc at the University of Exeter and an MRes at the University of Warwick. Upon completion of her PhD, she worked with Dr. Freya Harrison at the University of Warwick as a Research Assistant before starting her current role.

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