PhD candidate / guest
I am interested in understanding the functions of genomic instability in Streptomyces coelicolor. Specifically, I study: (1)The evolutionary and ecological strategies and advantages of having an unstable genome and (2)the molecular mechanisms causing this genomic instability
2008-2012 BSc Biological Science at South China Agricultural University
2013-2015 MSc Microbial Biotechnology and Heath at Leiden University
2015-present PhD Genomic instability in Streptomyces coelicolor (Promotor: Prof. Gilles van Wezel / Supervisors: Daniel Rozen and Dennis Claessen)
Streptomycetes are a diverse group of filamentous bacteria that inhabit the soil. Due to their competitive living environment, species in this genus have evolved to have a giant genome with the potentials of producing more than two-thirds of clinically used antibiotics. The large genome allows them to succeed in competing with other microbes, as well as makes them favored by scientists to explore new antibiotics to fight against infective diseases.
However, the ~9Mb linear chromosome in Streptomyces is inherently unstable and undergoes gross chromosomal rearrangements at an extremely high rate. These chromosomal rearrangements can influence multiple phenotypic traits including sporulation and secondary metabolism. This, on the one hand, can be problematic for the industrial process since this genomic instability can lead to strain degeneration. On the other hand, it is interesting for both ecologists and molecular biologists to understand the functions and mechanisms behind this mysterious phenomenon.
During my PhD research, I am interested in answering the following questions in Streptomyces coelicolor:
(1)What are the effects of genomic instability?
(2)What are the advantages of evolving a large and unstable genome?
(3)What are the molecular mechanisms causing this genomic instability?
By studying these, I hope to elaborate on the evolutionary strategies of filamentous bacteria living in the soil environment, specifically related to its genomic instability. Moreover, the fundamental knowledge about its mechanisms can help to prevent the strain degeneration in industry, as well as to understand the genomic instability in eukaryotes, which is a hallmark of cancer.
- Ramijan Carmiol A.K., Ultee E., Willemse J.J., Zhang Z., Wondergem A.J., Meij A. van der, Heinrich D.M., Briegel A., Wezel G.P. van & Claessen D. (2018), Stress-induced formation of cell wall-deficient cells in filamentous actinomysetes, Nature Communications 9: 5164.
- Westhoff S., Leeuwe T.M. van, Qachach O., Zhang Z., Wezel G.P. van & Rozen D.E. (2017), The evolution of no-cost resistance at sub-MIC concentrations of streptomycin in Streptomyces coelicolor, The ISME journal 11(5): 1168-1178.
- Zhang Z., Claessen D. & Rozen D.E. (2016), Understanding Microbial Divisions of Labor, FRONTIERS IN MICROBIOLOGY 7: 2070.
- Liu X., Huang J., Sun Y., Zhan K., Zhang Z. & Hong M. (2013), Identification of Multiple Binding Sites for Substrate Transport in Bovine Organic Anion Transporting Polypeptide 1a2, Drug Metabolism and Disposition 41(3): 602-607.
- Yu Y., Liu X., Zhang Z., Xiao Y. & Hong M. (2013), Cloning and functional characterization of the pig ( Sus scrofa ) organic anion transporting polypeptide 1a2, Xenobiotica 43(8): 738-744.