Our team studies the segregation of bacterial replicons to understand how bacteria ensure the faithful transmission of chromosomes and low copy number plasmids to daughter cells prior to cell division. Along this line, we develop three main research projects: (i) a molecular study of the partition of the F plasmid of Escherichia coli which constitutes a simple and autonomous model system. We aim to decipher the dynamic assemblies that self-organize and lead the movement and positioning of the different partners during the cell cycle, (ii) a study of DNA segregation in bacteria with complex genomes, such as P. naphtalenivorans, and (iii) a characterization of the interplay between bacterial segregation and conjugation. We aim to understand at the molecular level the determinants of mobile genetic elements that ensure vertical (segregation) and horizontal (conjugation) gene transfer.
Reconstitution and modeling of all steps involved in DNA partitioning based on biochemical, genetics and live cell imaging will represent an important stage toward understanding the molecular mechanism of DNA segregation