The multifaceted impact of replication-transcription collisions on bacterial life


Event Date: 

Tue, June 6, 2017






Houra Merrikh, Assistant Professor, Department of Microbiology

DNA replication and transcription function simultaneously on the same DNA template. The coupling of these two essential processes leads to conflicts between the two machineries. Over the past five years, research in my laboratory has shed light on the consequences of these conflicts on a variety of essential cellular processes. Using a diverse set of techniques, ranging from high resolution single molecule microscopy, genetics, molecular biology, to genomics and transcriptomics as well as bioinformatics analyses, we have gained deep insights into how conflicts significantly impact a number of critical aspects of bacterial life. Most notably, we have found that conflicts orchestrate the speed and continuity of DNA replication, influence genomic architecture and evolution, and threaten the ability of cells to survive environmental stresses. Our most recent work also indicates that conflict resolution is essential for bacterial pathogenesis. In this talk, I will highlight the most important aspects of what we have learned thus far, and provide some indication of where my research program is heading in the upcoming years.