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Bacterial cell walls, antibiotics and the origins of life


Event video


18:30 - 19:30


The Royal Society, London, 6-9 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5AG


2015 Leeuwenhoek Lecture by Professor Jeff Errington FMedSci FRS

MRC Clinical Sciences Centre

Event details

The cell wall is a crucial structure found in almost all bacteria. It is the target for our best antibiotics and fragments of the wall trigger powerful innate immune responses against infection. Surprisingly, many bacteria can switch almost effortlessly into a cell wall deficient “L-form” state. These cells become completely resistant to many antibiotics and may be able to pass under the radar screen of our immune systems. In this lecture, Professor Errington discussed how studies of L-forms have provided surprising insights into various aspects of bacterial cell physiology and biochemistry, as well as a model illuminating how the earliest true cells on the planet might have proliferated.

The Leeuwenhoek Lecture is given triennially on a subject in the field of microbiology, bacteriology, virology, mycology, parasitology and microscopy. Professor Jeff Errington was awarded the 2015 Leeuwenhoek Lecture for his seminal discoveries in relation to the cell cycle and cell morphogenesis in bacteria which helped to found the field of bacterial cell biology.

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Bacterial cell walls, antibiotics and the origins of life The Royal Society, London 6-9 Carlton House Terrace London SW1Y 5AG UK