Paul Herron

Paul Herron is a Senior Lecturer in Microbiology. He graduated from Liverpool Polytechnic before carrying put a PhD in Microbiology at the University of Warwick. After two years at the Agricultural University Wageningen he moved to the University of Wales Swansea where he developed transposon tools for mutagenesis of streptomycetes.

His research interests include the following:
Chromosome segregation in Streptomyces. cell division in streptomycetes is fundamentally different from other bacteria as it is inessential for growth. Despite progress on elucidating the regulatory mechanisms governing the onset of differentiation in streptomycetes, little is known about the mechanism of chromosome segregation. We are using molecular and microscopic tools to investigate this in Streptomyces. Using time lapse microscopy we have visualised trafficking of key cell division proteins and DNA replisomesduring growth and development.

The role of Phospholipids in streptomycete development. The involvement of phospholipids in bacterial cell division has recently received increasing attention. Although different phospholipids are abundant in the membranes of Streptomyces, their involvement in development is not known. We are investigating changes in phospholipid profile and gene expression during differentiation.

Oxytetracycline productivity in Streptomyces rimosus. In the commercial production of antibiotics, extensive strain improvement programs have been carried out, where the original isolate of an antibiotic-producing organism has been improved sequentially to deliver a titre of product that is commercially-viable. This "black box" methodology was carried out for Streptomyces rimosus, which makes the antibiotic oxytetracycline. To identify the basis of strain improvement we have sequenced the genomes of four S. rimosus strains and are attempting to understand the genetic changes and biochemical bottlenecks by which carbon flux is directed away from primary metabolism towards natural product biosynthesis.

Exploitaion of Bacteriophages. In collaboration Fixed Phage Ltd. we are exploiting bacterial viruses for the treatment of plant and animal diseases

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