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USIAS 2020 award for Alexandre Smirnov

Publiée le : 12 mars 2020

The Institute for Advanced Studies at the University of Strasbourg (USIAS) is committed to supporting an original type of research and potentially pioneering research, so as to promote a high level of reflection and synthesis.

Among 2020 USIAS supported projects is that of Alexandre Smirnov:

"Experimental evolution of an organism with devastating impairment of regulatory networks"

Abstract :
Global RNA-binding regulators, like Argonaute in Eukarya or Hfq in bacteria, play an essential role in organising and empowering post-transcriptional networks in apparently all species. Not surprisingly, their inactivation often results in significant fitness loss. But are they really so essential in the long run? The present project aims to experimentally test the evolutionary importance of three major bacterial RNA-binding hubs, Hfq, ProQ and YbeY, which, via different mechanisms, control a large part of the E. coli genome. In an adaptive evolution experiment over 2,000 generations, we will follow how an organism with essentially destroyed post-transcriptional networks finds evolutionary trajectories to restore its fitness without recurring to the missing regulator. Additionally, transposon mutagenesis will be used to identify functionally related key players of the remodelled networks. This work will provide invaluable insights into the functional and evolutionary importance of RNA-binding hubs, with implications in synthetic biology and clinical microbiology.

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