Scope of the meeting
The stability of genomes and gene pools will constantly be challenged by DNA damage induced by endogenous and exogenous agents, as well as horizontal gene transfer, recombination and stress responses. Mechanisms for rapid genome variation, adaptation and maintenance are a necessity to ensure microbial fitness and survival in rapidly changing environments, also for the development of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
To combat AMR, understanding DNA repair and horizontal transfer mechanisms are crucial and requires an interdisciplinary approach across borders. Much can be learned by recognition of the structural and functional relations between systems for transformation and DNA repair. Several new components specific for these processes are yet to be discovered and a more complete understanding of the entire DNA metabolism in bacterial organisms is required. The emergence of DNA sequence data for multiple microbial genomes has revealed marked evolutionary relatedness among genes involved in DNA repair and transformation but also interesting and important differences. In retrospect, such differences would be expected in view of the differences that exist in physiology, life cycles and environmental habitats between these various organisms affecting the development of AMR.
The meeting will focus on recent progress in understanding of and interactions between components of several DNA transfer pathways and genome maintenance systems. Biochemical, genetic, live imaging and ultrastructural approaches are being used to probe the interactions between proteins of these pathways. These studies are expected to reveal a more integrated understanding of the architecture of the DNA transfer, recombination and maintenance machinery. The objective of the meeting is to highlight recent progress in the understanding of genome maintenance systems in the development of AMR and how AMR represent a global threat demanding global joint action. Topics addressed will be relevant for microbial pathogenesis and evolution, microbial model systems, and genome instability and maintenance.