• CUBE - Computational Systems Biology

  • DOME - Microbial Ecology

  • TER - Terrestrial Ecosystem Research


Latest publications

Full 15N tracer accounting to revisit major assumptions of 15N isotope pool dilution approaches for gross nitrogen mineralization

Braun J, Mooshammer M, Wanek W, Prommer J, Walker TWN, Rütting T, Richter A
2018 - Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 117: 16-26

Post photosynthetic carbon partitioning to sugar alcohols and consequences for plant growth

The occurrence of sugar alcohols is ubiquitous among plants. Physiochemical properties of sugar alcohols suggest numerous primary and secondary functions in plant tissues and are often well documented. In addition to functions arising from physiochemical properties, the synthesis of sugar alcohols may have significant influence over photosynthetic, respiratory, and developmental processes owing to their function as a large sink for photosynthates. Sink strength is demonstrated by the high concentrations of sugar alcohols found in plant tissues and their ability to be readily transported. The plant scale distribution and physiochemical function of these compounds renders them strong candidates for functioning as stress metabolites. Despite this, several aspects of sugar alcohol biosynthesis and function are poorly characterised namely: 1) the quantitative characterisation of carbon flux into the sugar alcohol pool; 2) the molecular control governing sugar alcohol biosynthesis on a quantitative basis; 3) the role of sugar alcohols in plant growth and ecology; and 4) consequences of sugar alcohol synthesis for yield production and yield quality. We highlight the need to adopt new approaches to investigating sugar alcohol biosynthesis using modern technologies in gene expression, metabolic flux analysis and agronomy. Combined, these approaches will elucidate the impact of sugar alcohol biosynthesis on growth, stress tolerance, yield and yield quality.

Dumschott K, Richter A, Loescher W, Merchant A
2017 - Phytochemistry, 144: 243-252

Peripheral blood vessels are a niche for blood-borne meningococci.

Neisseria meningitidis is the causative agent of cerebrospinal meningitis and that of a rapidly progressing fatal septic shock known as purpura fulminans. Meningococcemia is characterized by bacterial adhesion to human endothelial cells of the microvessels. Host specificity has hampered studies on the role of blood vessels colonization in N. meningitidis associated pathogenesis. In this work, using a humanized model of SCID mice allowing the study of bacterial adhesion to human cells in an in vivo context we demonstrate that meningococcal colonization of human blood vessels is a prerequisite to the establishment of sepsis and lethality. To identify the molecular pathways involved in bacterial virulence, we performed transposon insertion site sequencing (Tn-seq) in vivo. Our results demonstrate that 36% of the genes that are important for growth in the blood of mice are dispensable when bacteria colonize human blood vessels, suggesting that human endothelial cells lining the blood vessels are feeding niches for N. meningitidis in vivo. Altogether, our work proposes a new paradigm for meningococcal virulence in which colonization of blood vessels is associated with metabolic adaptation and sustained bacteremia responsible for sepsis and subsequent lethality.

Capel E, Barnier JP, Zomer AL, Bole-Feysot C, Nussbaumer T, Jamet A, Lécuyer H, Euphrasie D, Virion Z, Frapy E, Pélissier P, Join-Lambert O, Rattei T, Bourdoulous S, Nassif X, Coureuil M
2017 - Virulence, in press