Séminaire CIRI : Nicolas Personnic (visio-conférence)

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Date / Heure
Date(s) - 29/10/2020
11 h 00 min - 12 h 00 min

Dr. Nicolas Personnic, (Institute of Medical Microbiology – University of Zürich): « Single-Cell Dynamics and Persistence of Pathogens« .


Antibiotic resistance poses a severe threat to global health. Research addressing anti-infective therapeutic failures has recurrently overlooked manifestations beyond the acquisition and transmission of antibiotic resistance. Yet, many severe bacterial infections are hard to treat and tend to relapse, even in the absence of genetically detectable resistance, due to the presence of persisters. These rare individuals are transiently refractory to the antimicrobial chemotherapy and their characterization has long suffered the methodologies that could not resolve variation between pathogen subpopulations.

Fostered by the recent advances in single-cell technologies, we investigate the biology of the persisters during the infection. We show here that the emergence of persisters is one of the many phenotypic variations adopted by the pathogen to respond to the host tissue heterogeneity, within the micrometer ranges. Furthermore, it is the expression of a regulated bacterial strategy to constantly develop functionally distinct subpopulations to achieve risk spreading and gain of function at the population level. Biochemical characterization of the persisters unveils a unique physiology and, remarkably, a specific virulence program in order to survive the combined action of the host defenses and the antibiotics, hence, breaking the assumption that persisters are dormant bacteria.

It is now widely assumed that the ongoing antibiotic resistance crisis also stems from the presence of persisters. Deciphering the biology of the persisters during the infection is a technically challenging research that undeniably contributes to a better understanding of the mechanisms driving bacterial colonization, disease progression and treatment failures as well as the discovery of new biocontrol strategies.

Hôte: Thomas Henry

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