Understanding the behavior of bacterial cells at the molecular level is vital to control their proliferation and combat antibiotic-resistant infections.
Predatory bacteria, like animal predators, play pivotal roles in shaping bacterial populations within natural environments including the microbiota. Predation involves a specialized molecular weaponry to recognize and digest distinct prey components, including the bacterial envelope, a main target for antibiotics. Identifying these mechanisms could therefore unveil novel strategies against bacterial infections.
Moreover, predatory bacteria challenge textbook paradigms of bacterial proliferation. For instance, Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus grows by filamentation and releases large numbers of progenies (up to 16) upon cell division, while “model” bacteria double their size and produce only two daughter cells. Revealing how predatory bacteria uniquely replicate will contribute to the fundamental cell biology knowledge, as the astounding diversity of bacterial species on Earth only starts being unraveled.
The Laloux lab explores the fascinating predation mechanisms and the cell biology of Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus, whichthrives inside the envelope of other bacteria, including major antibiotics-resistant pathogens. The lab integrates cutting-edge bacterial cell biology approaches such as live fluorescence microscopy and quantitative image analysis at the single-cell level, with molecular biology, bacterial genetics and biochemistry.