A lecture "Archaea, LUCA and the tree of life" will be given by a professor Patrick Forterre at Vilnius University Life Sciences Center on 21st of November, 3 pm, Room R102.
Prof. Forterre is currently working at the Institut Pasteur, where he is the head of the Department of Microbiology and leader of the research group "Molecular Biology of the Gene in Extremophiles".
Prof. Forterre’s teams have been working mostly on the molecular biology and physiology of hyperthermophilic archaea. They have described several new families of enzymes involved in DNA replication and DNA topology control. Prof. Forterre has always been interested in the evolutionary implication of his work. He has proposed several provocative and controversial hypotheses on the origin of DNA and on the nature of viruses. A well-known scientist has published more that 200 articles. His book "Microbes from Hell" was released in 2016.
Abstract of the lecture
Following the work of Carl Woese and colleagues in the last century, cellular organisms are now classified into three domains based on their ribosomes: Archaea, Bacteria and Eukarya. However, many biologists still confuse Archaea and Bacteria since they are both « prokaryotes » and Archaea (the first domain in alphabetic order) are still understudied. However, the few laboratories that have focused their research on Archaea have made striking discoveries, revealing for instance a surprisingly rich world of wonderful archaeal viruses. Remarkably, Archaea are very similar to Eukarya (compared to Bacteria) in terms of their molecular biology, whereas their mobilome, beside unique features, resembles more the bacterial mobilome. These observations have raised many fundamental questions that remain hotly debated, such as the nature of the Last Universal Common Ancestor (LUCA) of the three cellular domains, the exact evolutionary relationships between Archaea and Eukarya, or else the place of viruses in the tree of life.