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February 18 - 22
Milton Costa
PDBEB, CNBC/UC, 18-22 February 2008
Coordinators: Milton Costa/Nuno Empadinhas
Milton S. da Costa, Department of Biochemistry, FCTUC and CNBC, University of Coimbra, 3001-401 Coimbra, Portugal. E-mail: milton@ci.uc.pt
Eliora Ron, Department of Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology, Life Sciences, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel 69978. E-mail: eliora@post.tau.ac.il
Nuno Empadinhas, Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology, University of Coimbra, 3004-517 Coimbra, Portugal. E-mail: numenius@cnc.uc.pt
Paula Morais, Department of Biochemistry, FCTUC and Instituto Ambiente e Vida, University of Coimbra, 3001-401 Coimbra, Portugal. E-mail: pvmorais@iav.uc.pt
António Veríssimo, Department of Zoology, FCTUC and CNBC, University of Coimbra, 3004-517 Coimbra, Portugal. E-mail: averiss@ci.uc.pt
Teresa Gonçalves, Institute of Microbiology, FMUC and CNBC, University of Coimbra, 3004-504 Coimbra, Portugal. E-mail: tmfog@ci.uc.pt
Karina Xavier, Bacterial Signalling Laboratory, Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência and Instituto de Tecnologia Química e Biológica, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, 2780-156 Oeiras, Portugal. E-mail: kxavier@igc.gulbenkian.pt
Fred Rainey - Department of Biological Sciences, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70803, USA. E-mail: frainey@lsu.edu.


Monday, 18 February
11:00 – 13:00 Microbial diversity (Milton Costa)
15:00 – 17:00 Meet the extremophiles! We´re not so tough after all!! (Milton Costa)
The Microbiology course starts and ends with an expedition into known (and unknown) microbial biodiversity and to the extraordinary range of metabolic versatility that continues to expand as new species are isolated from environments ranging from deep-sea brines and salterns to boiling hydrothermal vents or perpetually frozen habitats. The strategies to endure and adapt to extreme conditions will be highlighted as well as the lessons to be taken from such outstanding adaptations.

Tuesday, 19 February
11:00 – 13:00 Coping with changes in temperature (Eliora Ron)
A novel method of thermoregulation to control the temperature-dependent expression of a chaperone by increased transcript stability will be presented. Like all other chaperones, Hsp31 from E. coli is a heat-shock gene product, whose level is significantly up-regulated upon severe heat-shock. Strains with a mutation in the corresponding gene show only a mild growth defect at high temperature, but hardly recover from exposure to lethal temperatures.
15:00 – 17:00 Mycobacterial methylated polysaccharides as new targets for TB therapy (Nuno Empadinhas)
Tuberculosis (TB) infects one third of the world´s population and kills 2 million every year. The available therapies target a surprisingly small number of functions in the bacterium, and the emergence of multidrug-resistant strains (MDR) claims for the identification of new pathways against which new drugs can be designed. Recent findings about the biosynthesis of methylated polysaccharides, essential structures of mycobacterial growth and maintenance and attractive targets for development of new TB drugs, will be uncovered.

Wednesday, 20 February
11:00 – 13:00 Microbiology of heavy-metal impacted environments: strategies for metal resistance (Paula Morais)
The microbiology of trace metals in response to changing environments and the cellular strategies to evade metal-deprivation or toxic overload will be presented. The big picture on the bacterial orchestration of different systems to obtain a healthy cellular environment and what is there left to be discovered will be disclosed.
15:00 – 17:00 Multilocus Sequence Typing, the definitive typing system or the end of the clonal paradigm. Lessons from Legionella pneumophila (António Veríssimo)
Characterization of pathogenic isolates plays a central role in the epidemiology of infectious diseases, generating the information for identifying, tracking, and intervening against disease outbreaks. Multi-locus sequence typing (MLST) was proposed as a universal approach to provide accurate, portable data suitable for the epidemiological investigation of bacterial pathogens and also reflecting their evolutionary and population biology. We will explore a simple analysis of Legionella pneumophila population genetics to elucidate and discuss the MLST current paradigm.

Thursday, 21 February
11:00 – 13:00 Yeast-Bacteria interactions (Teresa Gonçalves)
In natural environments yeast and bacteria co-exist with synergistic or antagonistic relationships, with strong metabolic interactions namely on food processing or on commensalism. The interaction between yeast and bacteria extends to the capacity of yeast to actually sense and respond to the presence of bacterial LPS. Particularly in situations of mixed infections where yeasts are both exposed to live and lysed bacteria (due to macrophage attack), such a LPS-induced/sensing mechanism would be an advantage for the survival of yeast, and can be viewed as an evolutionary aspect of the mammalian inflammatory response.
15:00 – 17:00 Cell-Cell communication in Bacteria (Karina Xavier)
Bacteria communicate by chemical signal molecules called autoinducers by a process called quorum sensing, which allows bacteria to count the members in the community and to alter gene expression synchronously across the population. Quorum-sensing-controlled processes are often crucial for successful bacterial-host relationships, both symbiotic and pathogenic. Some important ramifications of these phenomena will be exposed, namely those for the maintenance of a normal microflora in mammals and the protection against pathogenic bacteria.

Friday, 22 February
11:00 – 13:00 Bacterial diversity – cultured and uncultured (Fred Rainey)
16:00: Seminar
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