Small RNA Regulation of the Quorum Sensing Response in the Bacterial Pathogen Vibrio Cholerae

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IBB Breakfast Club Seminar Series

Brian Hammer, PhD - Assistant Professor, School of Biology


Vibrio cholerae, the waterborne bacterium responsible for the deadly disease cholera, is both a transient human pathogen and a ubiquitous inhabitant of marine environments. The pathogenesis and ecology of this deadly microbe are the focus of research in the Hammer lab. V. cholerae has become a model organism to understand a process of microbial cell-cell communication called quorum sensing, which allows bacterial groups to act in unison by synchronizing gene expression in response to population density. V. cholerae, and many other Vibrio species, achieves quorum sensing by producing and then responding to chemical signal molecules, called autoinducers, which control the production of multiple regulatory small RNAs. In V. cholerae, these non-coding sRNAs are predicted to base-pair with, and alter the translation of, several mRNAs encoding protein regulators that alter the expression of >100 genes. Many of the quorum-sensing regulated genes (such as the cholera toxin and attachment factors) are critical for host colonization, while others (such as genes involved in horizontal gene transfer) are important in marine ecosystems. We are currently using genetic, biochemical, and computational methods to define the mechanism of sRNA control and the role of V. cholerae quorum sensing in clinical and environmental settings.


The IBB Breakfast Club seminar series was started with the spirit of the Institute's interdisciplinary mission in mind. The goal of the seminar series is to highlight research taking place throughout the institute to enable the IBB community to further collaborative opportunities and interdisciplinary research. Faculty are often asked to speak at other universities and conferences, but rarely present at their home institution, this seminar series is an attempt to close that gap. The IBB Breakfast Club is open to anyone in the bio-community.

Continental breakfast and coffee will be served.




  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created By: Colly Mitchell
  • Created: 04/13/2011
  • Modified By: Fletcher Moore
  • Modified: 10/07/2016


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