Microbial Pharmacology and Population Biology (MicroPop)
MicroPop focus on two main topics
1. Evolution, selection, and spread of antibiotic resistance: It is clear that the frequency of antimicrobial drug resistance in the community is associated with the total level of antimicrobial consumption. Not so clear is the association between reduced consumption levels and subsequent reduction in the frequency of resistance. We focus on different processes that may counteract the reversal of antimicrobial resistance in drug free environments such as the biological cost of resistance, horizontal gene transfer, and genetic stability of resistance determinants. We are currently expanding our activities to include approaches for optimized antimicrobial treatment informed by principles of evolutionary and population biology and the transmission dynamics of antimicrobial resistance genes/elements in bacterial populations.
2. Mechanistic and evolutionary consequences of bacterial recombination: Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) in bacteria plays a major role in adaptive evolution exemplified by the evolution, spread and selection for antibiotic resistance determinants. For two out of three described mechanisms of HGT, conjugation and transduction, gene recruitment through recombination is likely a coincidental byproduct of plasmids’ and phages’ need for continuous transmission to new hosts. The third mechanism of HGT, natural transformation, is a complex mechanism for DNA uptake that requires the concerted action of many chromosomal genes. On first consideration it appears evident that this mechanism for HGT has evolved to “sample the available sequence space” in order to increase the adaptation rates of transformable strains. However, other hypotheses exist for both the evolution and the maintenance of natural transformation in bacteria. We are currently testing a number of these hypotheses both experimentally and theoretically. We are also interested in the mechanistic basis of bacterial recombination and how it affects genetic diversity in microbes.
MicroPop closely collaborates and shares lab-space and facilities at the Department of Pharmacy with
Dr. Soren Abel’s group (Centre for Molecular Medicine Norway).
Di Luca MC., Sørum V., Starikova I., Klos J., Hülter N., Naseer U., Johnsen PJ., Samuelsen Ø. Low biological cost of carbapenemase producing plasmids following transfer from Klebsiella pneumonia to Escherichia coli. J Antimicrob Chemother. 2017 Jan;72(1):85-89.
Harms K., Lunnan A.,Hülter N., Mourier T., Vinner L., Andam C.P., Marttinen P., Fridholm H., Hansen A.J., Hanage W.P., Nielsen K.M., Willerslev E., Johnsen P.J. Substitutions of short heterologous DNA segments of intra- or extragenomic origins produce clustered genomic polymorphisms. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016 Dec 27;113(52):15066-15071.
Engelstädter J., Harms K., Johnsen PJ. The evolutionary dynamics of integrons in changing environments ISME J, 2016, Jun;10(6):1296-307.
Ambur OH., Engelstädter J., Johnsen PJ., Miller EL., Rozen DE. Steady at the wheel: conservative sex and the benefits of natural transformation. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2016 Oct 19;371(1706). pii: 20150528
Utnes A., Sorum V., Hulter N., Primicerio R., Kloos J., Nielsen K.M., andP. J. Johnsen. Growth phase specific evolutionary benefits of natural transformation in Acinetobacter baylyi. ISME J, 2015;advance online publication 7 April 2015; doi: 10.1038/ismej.2015.35
Levin B. R., Baquero F., and P. J. Johnsen. A Model-Guided Analysis and Perspective on the Evolution and Epidemiology of Antibiotic Resistance and its Future. Current Opin Microbiol. 2014: Jun;19:83-9.
Overballe-Petersen S., Harms K*., Orlando L. A., Mayar J. V., Rasmussen S., Dahl T. W., Rosing M. T., Poole A. M., Sicheritz-Ponten T., Brunak S., Inselmann S., de Vries J., Wackernagel W., Pybus O. G., Nielsen R., Johnsen P. J., Nielsen K. M., and Willerslev E. Bacterial natural transformation by highly fragmented and damaged DNA. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013: 110(49):19860-5. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1315278110. Epub 2013 Nov 18
Starikova I., Al-Haroni M., Werner G., Roberts A. P., Sørum V., Nielsen K.M., and P. J. Johnsen. * Fitness costs of mobile genetic elements in Enterococcus faecium and Enterococcus faecalis.J Antimicrob Chemother. 2013 Dec;68(12):2755-65. Epub 2013 Jul 5.
StarikovaI., Harms K., Lunde T. M., Haugen P., Primicerio R., Samuelsen Ø., Nielsen K. M, and P. J. Johnsen. 2012. A trade-off between the fitness cost of functional integrases and long-term stability of integrons. PloS Pathog.8(11):e1003043.
Pål J. Johnsen, Professor and group leader
Raul Primicerio, Associate Professor
Ørjan Samuelsen, Professor (20%) and Norwegian National Advisory Unit on Detection of Antimicrobial Resistance, University Hospital of North Norway.
Elizabeth Aarag Fredheim, Scientist and Lab Manager
Nicole Podnecky, Postdoctoral Fellow
Maria Chiara de Luca, Postdoctoral Fellow
Klaus Harms- Postdoctoral Fellow
Vidar Sørum, Postdoctoral Fellow
Julia Kloos, PhD student
Tracy T. M. Lunde, PhD student
Christopher Fröhlich, Erasmus+ student
Emma Lu Øynes, Medical Student Research Programme
Jessica N. Tran, Master of Pharamcy student
Former Group Members:
Dr. Nils Hülter
Dr. Irina Starikova
Dr. Ane Utnes
Mikkel Meyn Liljegren, Msc
Kristina B. Pedersen, Msc
Asbjørn Lunnan, Msc
Lilli Nguyen, Msc
Jonathan Nguyen, Msc
Gina Pat, Msc
Mari Norvik, Msc
Joachim Hegstad, Msc
Tammy Nguyen, Msc
Cho Kit Lam, Msc
Sanne E. Valla, Msc
Camilla R. Hasund, Msc