Organoids & Toxins - from snakebite to DNA-damaging bacteria



Organoids are emerging tools to study homeostatic function and disease of human organs. This technology has now for the first time been extended to reptiles by establishing cultures of the snake venom gland. Venom gland organoids from a panel of species produce active toxins and allow for the study of multiple aspects of venom such as gene regulation and evolution.  These cultures could form the basis for a novel strategy of anti-venom production and bioprospecting.  In the second part of the talk, a co-culture of human intestinal organoids with genotoxic Escherichia coli is presented. Long-term exposure of organoids to these bacteria leads to accumulation of a specific mutational signature in the human cells. These specific mutations are also found in the genomes of colorectal tumours, highlighting for the first time the induction of specific mutations by bacteria in human cancer.

Learning Objectives:

1. Define adult stem cell-based organoid systems

2. Identify current approaches for increasing the complexity in vitro cell culture systems

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