Speaker: David J. Baumler, UW Biotechnology Center
Abstract: No other family of microorganisms has had a greater impact on human health then the Enterobacteriaceae, and these bacteria have evolved into a wide variety of commensal and human, plant, and avian pathogens. These organisms have diverged from a common ancestor ~300-500 million years ago (MYA), and little is known about ancestral metabolism. Using a paleo systems biology approach the metabolism of ancient microorganisms has been investigated through construction of metabolic models using either ancient genomic DNA (such as the Yersinia pestis genome that has been recently sequenced from human corpses that were victims of the 2nd pandemic of the black plague ~1300 A.D.) or through a comparison of 72 enterobacterial genomes of modern descendents.
I will present an analysis of the ability of these ancient metabolic models to utilize 300 substrates and how some of these metabolic strategies are used in numerous human niche locations where modern-day enterobacteria cause disease. Overall this work will demonstrate that models of ancient bacteria can be used to accurately predict metabolism and to derive new targets to control human disease.