Pneumococcal competence and transformation

Patrice Polard

05 61 33 69 19

Team members

  Research engineer
  • Isabelle Mortier
  Researcher emeritus
  • David Lane
  Researcher  Associate professor
  • Mathieu Berge
  • Marc Prudhomme
  Technical staff
  • Anne-Lise Soulet
  • Mickael Maziero
  Postdoctoral fellow
  • Anne Boyeldieu
  PhD student
  • Marie Dewailly
  • Yazid Makmani
  Master student
  • Léa Heuillet


The pneumococcal competence and transformation team combines complementary approaches to study all aspects of competence and genetic transformation in the human pathogen Streptococcus pneumoniae (the pneumococcus). Pneumococcal competence is a transient genetic programme induced in response to stresses. Comeptence promotes transformation, a mechanism of horizontal gene transfer entirely encoded by the recipient cell. It involves capture of exogenous DNA, internalization in the form of single strands and integration into the recipient chromosome by homologous recombination, driven by the recombinase RecA. This process is widespread in the bacterial kingdom and promotes acquisition of new genetic traits. In the pneumococcus, transformation can mediate the spread of antibiotics and vaccine escape. Our team combines molecular genetics, cell biology, biochemistry and single molecule analyses to study the pneumococcal transformation process. The main projects of our team focus on:

  • The functional dissection of competence regulation.
  • The functional dissection of the mechanism of transformation.
  • A study of how competence and transformation are integrated into the cell cycle.

Through these complementary projects, we aim to further our fundamental understanding of this widespread, clinically relevant process.



Chromosome dynamics during pneumococcal competence for transformation

Pneumococcal competence regulation

Dissecting the TRAnsformation Machinery of the Pneumococcus (TRAM)


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Université Paul Sabatier
118 Route de Narbonne

31062 TOULOUSE Cedex

05 61 33 58 00

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