The Science

In my entire career, my research interest has been focused on the role of the cell wall in bacterial growth and development. In the lab of Prof. Jeff Errington, I worked on cell wall synthesis in Bacillus subtilis and discovered how the different modes of growth, elongation and division, are orchestrated in space and time. It involves shuttling of the major cell wall synthetic enzyme between its sites of action, in part coordinated by a newly identified regulator (Molecular Microbiology and featured in Nature Reviews in Microbiology). 

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Following my return to the Netherlands to the lab of Prof. Lubbert Dijkhuizen, I focused on the role of cell wall (associated) proteins in attachment of Streptomyces coelicolor. I showed that amyloidal fimbriae, consisting of assembled chaplin proteins (previously described in Genes and Development), mediate attachment of Streptomyces hyphae to surfaces. These fimbriae are anchored to the cell surface of adhering hyphae via cellulose-like fibrils (Molecular Microbiology). Importantly, I also discovered that Streptomyces cell wall proteins are crucial determinants for mycelium architecture and heterogeneity in liquid-grown cultures (Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology). This is of outstanding interest for industry, where streptomycetes are used as important producers of natural products. 

Current Research Themes

© Dennis Claessen 2017