Unlocking antibiotic persisters during infection
Sophie Helaine, Harvard Medical School Department of Microbiology, USA
Host: Jaime Mota, UCIBIO NOVA
ZOOM link: https://ucibio.pt/l/GuestSeminars
Bacterial persistence, characterized by chronic and relapsing infections, is a major threat to human health as these infections cause considerable morbidity and frequently require multiple courses of antibiotics. Such long-lasting infections are caused by a variety of bacterial pathogens including Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Salmonella, Pseudomonas, Staphylococcus aureus and pathogenic Escherichia coli. During infection, Salmonella specifically respond to engulfment by host macrophages by forming high proportions of antibiotic persisters. These persisters escape the combined action of the antibiotic and host immune killing mechanisms for prolonged periods of time by adopting a non-growing state. The molecular mechanisms that govern persister resumption of growth, potentially initiating infection relapse, are not understood. We will discuss what controls regrowth of Salmonella persisters, and how we can leverage this knowledge to resensitize these cells to antibiotics, limiting the risk of relapse.
After completing her Ph.D. at Universite Paris 5- Necker, Paris, France, in 2006 with Dr Vladimir Pelicic, Sophie joined the Centre for Molecular Bacteriology and Infection (CMBI) in the Department of Medicine at Imperial College London as a Research Associate in the laboratory of Prof David Holden in 2007. She has been awarded a Junior Research Fellowship by Imperial College London in 2012 and started her own research group as a Senior Research Fellow to study the formation and biology of Salmonella persisters during infection of the host in 2013. She became a senior lecturer of the CMBI at Imperial College London and a Lister Research Prize fellow since 2017. She moved her lab to Harvard Medical School in the Department of Microbiology in summer 2019.