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Widespread Bacterial CORE Complex Executes Intra- and Inter-Kingdom Cytoplasmic Molecular Trade

Objective

The enormous versatility of bacteria enables the formation of multi-species communities that colonize nearly every niche on earth, making them the dominant life form and a major component of the biomass. Exchange of molecular information among neighboring bacteria in such communities, as well as between bacteria and proximal eukaryotic cells, is key for bacterial success. Yet, the principles controlling these multicellular interactions are poorly defined. Here we describe the identification of a bacterial protein complex, herein termed CORE, whose function is to traffic cytoplasmic molecules among different bacterial species, and between pathogenic bacteria and their human host cells. The CORE is composed of five membrane proteins, highly conserved across the entire bacterial kingdom, providing a ubiquitous platform that facilitates both intra- and inter-kingdom crosstalk. Our preliminary data support the idea that the CORE acts as a shared module for the assembly of larger apparatuses, executing this universal molecular flow among organisms. We propose to elucidate components, structure and biogenesis of the CORE machinery, operating during bacteria-bacteria and pathogen-host interactions. We further aim to provide an unbiased-global view of the extent and identity of cytoplasmic molecules traded via CORE including metabolites, proteins and RNA, and to reveal the criteria determining the specificity of the transported cargo. Furthermore, we intend to decipher the impact of CORE-mediated molecular exchange on bacterial physiology and virulence, and devise anti-CORE compounds to combat pathogenic bacteria. This study is expected to transform the way we currently view bacterial communities and host-pathogen interactions. We anticipate these findings to lead to the development of creative strategies to modulate, predict and even design bacterial communities, and lay the foundation for new and innovative approaches to fight bacterial diseases.


Field of science

  • /social sciences/economics and business/business and management/commerce
  • /natural sciences/biological sciences/microbiology/bacteriology
  • /natural sciences/biological sciences/biochemistry/biomolecules/proteins
  • /agricultural sciences/agricultural biotechnology/biomass
  • /medical and health sciences/basic medicine/physiology

Call for proposal

ERC-2018-SyG
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

ERC-SyG - Synergy grant

Host institution

THE HEBREW UNIVERSITY OF JERUSALEM
Address
Edmond J Safra Campus Givat Ram
91904 Jerusalem
Israel
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 6 384 741

Beneficiaries (2)

THE HEBREW UNIVERSITY OF JERUSALEM
Israel
EU contribution
€ 6 384 741
Address
Edmond J Safra Campus Givat Ram
91904 Jerusalem
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
BIRKBECK COLLEGE - UNIVERSITY OF LONDON
United Kingdom
EU contribution
€ 546 055
Address
Malet Street
WC1E 7HX London
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments