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Analysis of interactions between cell division proteins


Cell division is a fundamental process that allows the multiplication of all bacteria. Although this mechanism is essential for their survival, it is one of the least understood processes in bacterial cell biology. Understanding the molecular function of different factors implicated in this key event of the bacterial cell cycle is essential. Furthermore the characterization of cell division machinery will open up new opportunities in bioengineering and development of novel therapeutic and antibacterial agents.

During the past ten years, genetic approaches as well as major improvements in cytological and immunofluorescence techniques generated a wealth of data on the localization and recruitment of cell division proteins to the septum. However, specific protein interactions and complex formation have not been studied in great detail. This research project is directed at elucidating the interactions and communication between cell division proteins in Gram-negative bacteria, thus initiating a new dimension to the study of cell division.

The first phase of the project will emphasize the use of biochemistry to define direct interactions between proteins assembled at the septum and to identify and characterize new cell division components. During the second phase, a n innovative and powerful genetic tool based on bacterial double hybrid system will be developed in order to validate, in an in vivo context, protein interactions and the new partners unveiled by genetic and biochemical approaches. This project will contribute to the development of a competitive high impact field in Europe by significantly extending our knowledge on cell division process and by combining classical and innovative approaches.

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