Filamentous cyanobacteria such as Anabaena and its relatives are sophisticated multicellular prokaryotes that exhibit cell differentiation, pattern formation and co-ordinated gliding motility. These features depend on the rapid intercellular exchange of molecules. Prof Mullineaux and collaborators have developed fluorescence microscopic techniques to trace this molecular trafficking in real time, and have characterised the structures that enable it, which are functionally analogous to metazoan gap junctions. This project will combine these experimental approaches with computational modelling under the supervision of Dr Duffy for quantitative understanding of the roles of intercellular communication in multicellular biochemistry, pattern formation and co-ordinated behaviour.
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2. Nieves-Morión M, Mullineaux CW, Flores E (2017) Molecular diffusion through cyanobacterial septal junctions. mBio 8: e01756-16
3. Mullineaux CW, Nürnberg DJ (2014) Tracing the path of a prokaryotic paracrine signal. Mol. Microbiol. 94, 1208-1212.
4. Flores E, Nieves- Morión M, Mullineaux CW (2019) Cyanobacterial septal junctions: properties and regulation. Life 9:1
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