Move over Tannerella HOT-286; meet Tannerella serpentiformis

12 June 2020

Despite COVID-19 lockdown, Kittie and Professor Stafford (along with Prof William Wade, KCL) have recently had the privilege of naming of a new species of oral bacteria. It was first discovered in London, but characterised by work in Sheffield (Frey et al., 2018).

T. serpentiformis in all its glory: Left- gram stain; Right- membrane dye (green) and genomes (blue)

This long, snake-like version (see image above) of the more familiar periodontal pathogen Tannerella forsythia has been renamed from the catchy designation of Tannerella HOT-286 to the much more descriptive Tannerella serpentiformis.

The renamed pathogen is soon to appear in the International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology (IJSEM). Clearly inspired by the cellular form of the bacterium (and maybe Harry Potter). We all carry this organism so think about your little passenger next time you brush and floss!

Katherine Ansbro aka Kittie, has also been very busy during this time, being unable to work on her PhD studying the metabolic forces that shape the oral microbiome in periodontal disease with Professor Graham Stafford and GSK Oral healthcare, has turned her molecular biology skills to good use.

Kittie has joined the team at the Milton Keynes Lighthouse lab working 12 hour night shifts being part of the COVID-19 qPCR (look it up!) testing efforts. This was enabled by a combination of her training in the school and support from the University and we are very proud of her efforts on this front.