Delivered by Professor Peter Mullany, Microbial Diseases, UCL Eastman Dental Institute,
Faculty of Medical Sciences
Mobile genetic elements (MGEs) can spread genes between bacteria, sometimes even between very distantly related organisms. In this talk I will illustrate, using examples taken from my research, the different types of MGEs and the effect they can have on bacteria and consequently on humans.
As well as providing challenges for humans MGEs offer many opportunities in the field of biotechnology. Evolution has equipped them with the ability to cross bacterial cell walls and membranes, to enter and genetically manipulate bacterial genomes. These abilities have been utilised by molecular biologists for the last 60 years or so to make huge advances in biological sciences. Furthermore, the response of the host bacteria to protect themselves from MGEs such as production of restriction enzymes and CRISPR Cas systems has also been used by scientists to revolutionise molecular biology.
I will give a brief example of some of our current work using CRISPR Cas systems to target antibiotic resistance genes on MGEs.