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The 16th International Conference on Pseudomonas took place in Liverpool from the 5-9th September 2017. The meeting was held in the amazing St George’s Hall which proved to be a spectacular backdrop to the excellent science.
There were around 320 people registered to attend the meeting which started on the Tuesday evening with a plenary talk from Soren Molin (Technical University of Denmark) and finished with the diehards attending a Saturday morning session on Antibiotics and Biofilms. Along the way there were many interesting and stimulating talks, excellent poster sessions and a very nice conference dinner. Although in the past this meeting has tended to have a biomedical focus with a majority of talks about Pseudomonas aeruginosa, this year the meeting organisers made a great effort to include invited talks, and talks selected from offered abstracts, that covered both environmental Pseudomonads and plant pathogenic Pseudomonads. There were many sponsors of the meeting including the BSPP who sponsored two invited talks and two offered talks. We also had a table in the poster hall and all the giveaways went quickly through the meeting, especially popular were the fuzzy plant doctors, so hopefully they will find their way into many biomedical labs and offices around the world! The first BSPP sponsored talk was given by Jacob Malone (John Innes Centre). The title of this presentation was post transcriptional control of Pseudomonas niche colonisation by specific ribosomal modification. The talk focused around how different Pseudomonas colonise plants both with beneficial and pathogenic outcomes. Jacob’s lab has identified an important post-transcriptional regulatory pathway RimABK, which influences the transition between active and sessile lifestyles in Pseudomonads. The other invited talk was presented by Paul Rainey (Max Plant Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Germany) who spoke on the origin and evolution of the kiwifruit pathogen pandemic. This was a very interesting talk describing the recent canker outbreak that has devastated kiwifruit production in many countries and particularly New Zealand. Paul described work that involved sampling Pseudomonas from both cultivated and wild Actinidia spp. across China, South Korea and Japan to look for the source of the outbreak. The results suggest the ancestral pathogen population may be located in Korea or Japan, but not China. The first offered talk was by PhD student Maxwell Fishman (Cornell University from Stefanie Ranf (Technical University of Munich, Germany) entitled immune sensing of lipopolysaccharide in animals and plants: same but different. This work investigated the receptor for Pseudomonas syringae LPS in plants and how this can trigger an immune response in the plant. Stefanie compared the immune response of both plants and animals to LPS and showed that both plants and mammals have evolved to sense LPS via its lipid A moiety but, apparently, with distinct epitope specifications and through structurally unrelated receptors. Overall it was a very enjoyable meeting and the diverse range of talks about Pseudomonas biology was very positive as it led to lots of ideas for future work.
Dawn Arnold University of the West of England