Department of Biology IUB

Micro Seminar Series. Marie Elliot, McMaster University. "The Importance of Sticking Together: Functional Amyloids and Bacterial Development"


Streptomyces bacteria are renowned both for their metabolic prowess (producing more than two thirds of clinically prescribed antibiotics), and for their complex, fungal-like developmental cycle.  Vegetative growth involves hyphal tip extension and branching, resulting in the formation of a tangled network of filamentous cells.  The transition from vegetative growth to reproductive growth involves a remarkable differentiation process, which coincides with the onset of antibiotic production:  from the antibiotic-producing vegetative cells emerge ‘aerial hyphae’, with these aerial cells ultimately metamorphosing into chains of dormant exospores.

Aerial hyphae formation is a tightly regulated process, and requires the activity of multiple proteins, including a family of proteins known as the ‘chaplins’ which we discovered ~ 10 years ago.  The chaplins are secreted, hydrophobic proteins with dramatic surfactant properties and the capacity to form amyloid fibres.  They polymerize on the surface of the emerging aerial hyphae, facilitating hyphal escape from the aqueous vegetative environment and providing an effective means of resisting desiccation.  Recently, we have shown that amyloid fibre formation is essential for chaplin-mediated aerial morphogenesis, and have started exploring other factors that impact the ‘functional amyloid’ behaviour of the chaplin proteins.


To schedule an appointment to meet with Dr. Elliot, please visit: or email Tammi Duzan.

If you are a Micro Graduate Student, Post Doc or Research Associate who would like to go to lunch with Dr. Elliot, please visit the following poll:

Tuesday January 29, 2013 04:00 PM
Tuesday January 29, 2013 05:00 PM
Myers Hall 130
Department of Biology
Contact Email
More Contact Info
Hosted by Yves Brun
Other Info
Refreshments will be served prior to seminar.
view calendar