Skip to main content
European Commission logo print header

Unravelling lipid dynamics in bacteria

Project description

Bacterial membrane lipid dynamics

Lipid dynamics in eukaryotic cells are linked to the microscale and nanoscale organisation of the plasma membrane, demonstrating an interplay between the actin cytoskeleton, membrane proteins and membrane components. Recent experimental evidence proved that bacterial membranes are highly heterogeneous and dynamic. Funded by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions programme, the FCS-BACSUB project will advance knowledge about the molecular and cellular biology of bacteria by studying the dynamics of lipids in the membrane of Bacillus subtilis. The researchers will employ fluorescence correlation spectroscopy, whose application will provide information about the organisation of bacterial membranes at the nanoscale resolution.


Bacteria are fascinating organism, relatively and yet not fully understood. Fundamental research on bacteria led across the years to major technological breakthroughs like the discovery of genetic editing with CRISPR-Cas9. Besides, resistance of bacteria to antibiotics is becoming a growing public health concern, raising the need for a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved. We propose here to further our understanding of the molecular biology of bacteria by studying the dynamic of lipids in bacterial (B. Subtilis) membranes. In eukaryotic cells, it was found that lipid dynamics can reveal the micro- and nanoscale organisation of the plasma membrane, revealing a dynamic interplay between membrane components such as lipids, membrane proteins, and the actin cytoskeleton. Bacterial membranes were thought until recently to be much simpler, but accumulating evidence over the last ten years suggested that they too were highly heterogeneous and dynamic. However, very few studies so far focused on the question of lipid dynamics, in part because of the experimental complexity of such measurements. To address this, we will transfer new technologies based on fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS), that were developed mainly for eukaryotic research, to the field of microbiology. With this unique methodology, we will answer a series of fundamental open questions: how do bacterial membranes organise at the nanoscale? Do they exhibit transient lipid-mediated interactions (called lipid rafts) as is thought to be the case in eukaryotes? Does MreB, bacterial equivalent of actin, also compartmentalises lipid diffusion? Answering these questions will help us build a holistic picture of the mechanisms associated with essential bacterial processes such as biofilm formation or antibiotic resistance, which will have far-reaching implications in both biology and medicine.


Net EU contribution
€ 184 707,84
75007 Paris

See on map

Ile-de-France Ile-de-France Paris
Activity type
Research Organisations
Total cost
€ 184 707,84