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E 5 - Anke Becker

Opposing regulation of exopolysaccharide biosynthesis and motility in symbiontic nitrogen fixing Sinorhizobium species

Prof. Dr. Anke Becker
LOEWE Center for Synthetic Microbiology (SYNMIKRO)  

35043 Marburg

Phone: +49 - 6421 - 2824451

Research summary

Many bacteria use flagella for motility and are also often capable to produce exopolysaccharides. Motility allows bacteria to move towards nutrients or other attractants and to escape from stress factors. Exopolysaccharides contribute to cell protection, cell aggregation, surface attachment and biofilm formation. In symbiotic nitrogen-fixing Sinorhizobium species, exopolysaccharide biosynthesis and surface motility are connected. In S. meliloti, a regulatory network that couples both processes to global sensory and regulatory modules achieves this interconnection. In her project, A. Becker will investigate whether different Sinorhizobium species use conserved key regulatory networks to coordinate motility/chemotaxis and exopolysaccharide biosynthesis. The comparison of the network architecture and signaling routes in S. meliloti, S. fredii, and S. medicae will contribute to a better understanding of the adaptive evolution of this coordinated regulation, which is important for free-living planktonic and surface-associated survival as well as for the establishment of the root nodule symbiosis.