Föreläsningar och seminarier What is life? lecture: Why does it have to be so complicated? Reconstructing bacterial cell division

2023-06-14 14:30 Add to iCal
Campus Solna Eva and Georg Klein lecture hall, Biomedicum, KI Solna campus, Solnavägen 9

Speaker: Petra Schwille, Cellular and Molecular Life Biophysics, Max-Planck Institutet, Munich
Hosts: Ingemar Ernberg, Eric Scarfone

Researchers at the interface of biology with the quantitative sciences, like physics and chemistry, have in the past years been pursuing a new approach towards understanding biology from first principles, termed “bottom-up synthetic biology”. The underlying idea is that only a radical simplification and abstraction of a biological cell will allow us to understand the distinctive features of life, because even the simplest life forms on earth have accumulated a huge degree of redundance, in order to remain viable in a hostile and competitive environment. Thus, in order to arrive at a self-sustaining minimal system of molecular interactions with the ability to evolve – a minimal living system - we likely need to build it from scratch. In this context, my group approaches the bottom-up assembly of a minimal functional machinery to accomplish the spontaneous division of a vesicle-based artificial cell. I will discuss our latest results on the successful reconstitution of key components of the bacterial divisome towards autonomous assembly, positioning and contraction of a minimal division ring.


15.30 – 17.00 Discussion with What is life group; PhD students


Petra Schwille

Biophysics, Fluorescence Correlation Spectroscopy, Atomic Force Microscopy, Single Molecule, Synthetic Biology

In order to elucidate the fundamental features of life, Petra Schwille’s Department "Cellular and Molecular Biophysics" aims to (re)construct cellular processes, and ultimately minimal living cells, from dramatically simplified functional subsystems, such as proteins and protein assemblies. Besides being able to investigate biomolecular processes with unprecedented precision in cell-free environments, this approach will also provide insights about the emergence of complexity as a main driver of biological evolution. Ideally, this will help to identify the minimal prerequisites for cellular life, towards an understanding of this fascinating phenomenon from first principles.