CEE Seminar Bacterial Longevity
It is well known that bacteria can survive in a growth-arrested state for long periods of time, on the order of months or even years. How is such longevity possible? What is the molecular basis of such longevity? The physiology of fast-growing bacteria is well characterized, but relatively little is understood about how bacteria stay alive when they are not growing. We have been studying this crucial phase of the bacterial life cycle. This is not just an academic exercise; non-growing bacteria can be useful. For example, they are excellent biocatalysts because they can convert substrates that might be used for growth to value-added products. Our work is with a phototrophic bacterium that is an excellent biocatalyst for biofuel production when in growth arrest. I will describe our work on molecular mechanisms of longevity in this bacterium, which is named Rhodopseudomonas palustris.