Diversity of mobile genetic elements and their role in biology, adaptation and evolution of Antarctic strains of psychrophilic bacteria

Grant number: 2013/09/D/NZ8/03046
Funded by:

National Science Centre

Project description:
The aim of this project is to identify and perform structural, but most of all, functional analyses of a pool of mobile genetic elements (MGEs) (plasmids, bacteriophages and transposable elements) of bacteria isolated from extremely cold habitat (Antarctic soil). In this project we will evaluate the influence of identified MGEs on the biology, adaptation and evolution of their hosts. We will define the role of particular MGEs in horizontal gene transfer (HGT), which is a basic factor influencing genetic and phenotypic plasticity of bacterial genomes. We will also perform a complex functional characterization of the genetic modules identified within particular MGEs, focusing on the phenotypic genes of adaptive value. At last, we will identify and analyze functional, native biological systems: bacteria(host)-MGE-genetic module, which will give us an insight into naturally occurring biological relations within microbioms of an analyzed environment. Finally the analysis of MGE distribution in bacteria will allow defining the range and directions of HGT in microorganisms present in Antarctic soil, while complex comparative analysis will lead to the creation of an evolutionary network of MGEs identified in psychrophiles.