Biochemistry Seminar: Kumaran Ramamurthi, "Synthetic Bacteria Deliver the Goods"
City College of New York,<br />
85 Saint Nicholas Terrace
Kumaran S. Ramamurthi, Senior Investigator, Laboratory of Molecular Biology, NCI/CCR, National Institutes of Health, will present a talk titled, "Synthetic Bacteria Deliver the Goods"
Bacterial spores are dormant cell types, highly resistant to environmental insults, that are produced by certain species of bacteria when living conditions become unfavorable. These cell types are therefore one of the hardiest life forms on earth. Spores of the bacterium Bacillus subtilis are encased in a thick proteinaceous shell called the “coat”. The basement layer of the coat contains a novel cytoskeletal protein that polymerizes irreversibly in an ATP hydrolysis‐dependent manner1,2. This protein is anchored to the surface of the developing spore by a small shape‐sensing protein that preferentially embeds in convex membranes3,4,5. By applying the lessons learned from our basic research in studying these proteins, we have recently reconstructed the basement layer of the spore coat in vitro around tiny silica beads encased in a membrane bilayer to create artificial bacterial spore‐like particles6. By chemically modifying the surface of these particles with moieties that target them to specific tissues, and by loading these particles with cargo of interest, we are now investigating the utility of these artificial bacteria in displaying vaccines and in delivering drugs specifically to cancerous cells.