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This is my personal website. Please note that my lab website is not available yet.
Below, you will find an overview of my past research achievements and interests.

Ecological genomics in Methylobacterium

 

Where do we find Methylobacterium? Basically everywhere: in industrial waste, in drinking water, in air conditioning systems, in irradiated soils -- and even in your bathroom! But plants are major hosts of Methylobacterium. Each plant is covered by billions of microscopic fungi and bacteria. Some microorganisms from this complex community are of course pathogens, but most of them are beneficial to the plant. Through DNA barcoding and sequencing, we now know that Methylobacterium represent about 1% of the total bacteria diversity living on plants. Each single tree leaf is colonized by dozens of different Methylobacterium species, each of them with its own genetic pattern, its own evolutionary history and its own ecological niche in the microbial community. Plants have a symbiotic relationship with these bacteria, some strains of which are involved in protection against pathogens, others in heavy metal sequestration, while others stimulate plant growth.

 

What unites them is that they use methanol released by plants during respiration, as a carbon source, and this is for this reason that we can isolate Methylobacterium strains from the rest of the bacterial community.

 

My research on Methylobacterium is at the crossroad of microbial ecology and genomics. On one hand, I’m investigating environmental and genetic factors driving the dynamics of Methylobacterium populations colonizing trees. On the other hand, I am interested in reconstructing the evolutionary history of Methylobacterium genomes for a better understanding of genetic mechanisms that allowed these bacteria to conquer a wide variety of ecological niches.  

Links:

  • JB Leducq, É Seyer-Lamontagne, D Condrain-Morel, G Bourret, D Sneddon, JA Foster, CJ Marx, JM Sullivan, BJ Shapiro & SW Kembel (2022) Fine-scale adaptations to environmental variation and growth strategies drive phyllosphere Methylobacterium diversity. mBio 13:1 (https://doi.org/10.1128/mbio.03175-21)

  • Peyton, A. J., Frischer D, Mueller S, Le T., Schwanes A., Govindaraju A., Shalvarjian K., Leducq J.-B., C. J. Marx, N. C. Martinez-Gomez, J. A. Lee (pre-print) Methylothon: a versatile course-based high school research experience in microbiology and bioinformatics-- with pink bacteria. bioRxiv (https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.09.08.459370)