Abstracts (first author)


Mutualistic parasites


Author(s): Dionisio F, Gama JA, Domingues IL, Reis AM, Mendes-Soares H, Matos AM, Carvalho AFP


We are going to analyze the hypothesis that organisms may use their pathogens for their own benefit: to infect other organisms of the same species. Across History, one can find several examples of humans gaining advantage in warfare using microorganisms. For example, in the Middle Ages victims of infections could themselves become weapons: they were simply catapulted into towns. We will discuss whether bacteria can use their temperate viruses as biological weapons. Temperate viruses are able to be kept in a dormant stage inside a bacterial cell, being vertically transmitted to bacterial progeny during bacterial replication. Sometimes (but rarely), a virus present in one of these bacterial cells “awakes” and starts self-replicating, leaving the cell in big numbers. Cells bearing dormant viruses (called lysogens) are not re-infected by the same virus. Therefore, these viruses, one integrated in the bacterial chromosome, may be used as <>. With Escherichia coli bacterial cells and the lambda virus, we present data showing that this is indeed possible. However, the best conditions for that (enabling massive virus multiplication among sensitive bacterial cells) are also the best conditions for the integration of the virus into the bacterial chromosome (lysogenization). We further discuss the generality of this experimental result.


Chairman: Octávio S. Paulo
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XIV Congress of the European Society for Evolutionary Biology

Organization Team
Department of Animal Biology (DBA)
Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon
P-1749-016 Lisbon


Computational Biology & Population Genomics Group