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Biomedical Sciences

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Our research programme in Cell and Developmental Biology is exploring the cellular basis of disease, the mechanisms that enable cell duplication, movement and repair and the self-organisational events that produce multi-cellular organisms. Our investigators also form the core of the Centre for Mechanochemical Cell Biology.

Biomedical Sciences News

The influence of extrachromosomal elements in the anthrax "cross-over" strain Bacillus cereus G9241

We have now published back to back two papers on the so called anthrax “cross over strain Bacillus cereus G9241. The first paper (From cereus to anthrax and back again: The role of the PlcR regulator in the “cross-over” strain Bacillus cereus G9241) has already been highlighted. This current paper is titled, “The influence of extrachromosomal elements in the anthrax “cross-over” strain Bacillus cereus G9241.”

The work investigates the contribution of anthrax-like plasmids and a lysogenic phagemid to the pathogenic potential of the normally relatively harmless Bacillus cereus. We investigated the role of temperature and carriage of the pBCXO1 plasmid (which is homologous to the pXO1 anthrax toxin plasmid) in regulation of chromosomal genes, heavily affecting metabolism. In addition we have shown that sporulation of G9241 is very rapid at 37’C, which is characteristic of B. anthracis but unlike the ancestral B. cereus strains. Finally we isolated phagemid virions which are produced at 37’C and visualised them with electron microscopy.

Read the paper here.

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The zebra fish is a tropical fish that shares 70% of its DNA with humans. This makes it very useful to study to help us understand some human diseases. Dr Karuna Sampath tells us more.