Institute for the Physics of Living Systems


IPLS/BioP Seminar: Dr. Séamus Holden (Newcastle University)

08 December 2021, 1:00 pm–2:00 pm

Dr. Seamus Holden

Title: How do you build a wall? Understanding biophysical principles of bacterial cell division using advanced light microscopy

Event Information

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2nd Floor Seminar Room (2.30), LMCB
MRC Building
Gower Street

Abstract: During bacterial cell division, a nanoscale synthesis machinery spontaneously builds a micron scale crosswall or septum across the middle of the cell. The complexity of this challenge is more obvious if we imagine rescaling cell division proteins to human size, and then try to figure out how they can build a septum the size of the world’s tallest building.  Furthermore, due to the small size of bacteria this process takes place almost at the diffraction limit of light microscopy, making observation of bacterial division protein dynamics an intense technical challenge.

I will talk about our efforts to understand how the model bacterium Bacillus subtilis divides. In particular I will discuss our findings about how motile filaments of the cytoskeleton protein FtsZ guide self-assembly of the cell division machinery, drive cell division initiation, and guide construction of the division septum [1,2]. I will also discuss the microscopy development which has supported this work, including Vertical Cell Imaging by Nanostructured Immobilization (VerCINI), a high resolution bacterial imaging method combining microfluidics, quantitative image analysis and nanofabrication-based control of cell orientation [2,3].

[1]    A.W. Bisson-Filho et al., Science 355 (2017) 739–743.
[2]    K.D. Whitley et al., Nature Communications. 12 (2021) 2448.
[3]    K. Whitley et al., Nature Protocols (in press)/ Preprints (2021).

Host: Andela Saric

The seminar will be hybrid- both in the LMCB Seminar Room and online. Please contact Jas Gill-Thind (j.gill-thind@ucl.ac.uk) if you do not already have the details to join the Zoom meeting.

For best functionality please ensure when you join the call you turn off your webcam and mute your microphone, to save bandwidth. If you have a question, please use the meeting Chat panel to let the host know, then switch on your camera and microphone on to ask the question when prompted.

About the Speaker

Dr. Séamus Holden

at Newcastle University

More about Dr. Séamus Holden