Seminar – Professor Paul Langford, Imperial College London: The pig pathogen Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae: from functional genomics towards control

10 October 2019 - 10 October 2019
11:00am - 12:00pm

Quadram Institute

Speaker: Professor Paul Langford

Hosted by: Professor John Wain

  • Professor Paul Langford – Professor of Paediatric Infectious Diseases, Imperial College London
  • The pig pathogen Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae: from functional genomics towards control
  • Thursday 10th October 2019
  • 11:00 – 12:00

Abstract:  Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae (APP) causes lung disease in pigs (the only known natural host) and is a substantial cause of death, suffering, and economic loss in the worldwide swine industry. The bacterium also a primary pathogen of the porcine respiratory disease complex (PRDC), weakening the immune system allowing co-infections with other bacteria and/or viruses. Control of APP is by good husbandry, antibiotics and/or vaccines. Antimicrobial resistance is an increasing problem, and the most widely used bacterin (whole cell killed) vaccines only protect against one or a few of the 18 serovars known, and do not prevent colonisation of the lungs or tonsils. There is an urgent need for new therapeutic strategies, and vaccines – the most promising being live attenuated. Underpinning the development of live attenuated vaccines requires an understanding of mechanisms of pathogenicity and identification of virulence factors. In this talk, the valuable contributions of both hypothesis-driven and random transposon mutant approaches to vaccine development will be summarised. In addition, it will be discussed how a combination of whole genome sequencing and newly available genetic tools (e.g. saturating transposon mutagenesis and TraDIS analysis, precise mutant construction) will drive the development of new therapeutics and vaccines to prevent APP disease.

Biography:  Professor Paul Langford (PL) completed a BSc in Applied Biology at the University of Wales Institute of Science and Technology (1976-80) which included a 1 year placement at Pfizer’s in Sandwich, followed by a PhD at the University of Aston (1980-84) sponsored by the Lord Dowding Fund for Humane Research aimed at alternatives to animal experimentation for the prediction of aminoglycoside toxicity. After a gratuitous fun year in Australia, PL undertook postdocs at the University of Bristol (1985-87) analysing cell walls of Bacillus licheniformis that had been grown in defined chemostat cultures, and at the Department of Paediatrics at the University of Oxford (1988-93) working with Prof Richard Moxon on the host-interactive biology of Haemophilus influenzae type b. PL moved to the Department of Paediatrics at St Mary’s Hospital Medical School in 1993 – which became part of Imperial College London in 1997 – where he has remained, and collaborated extensively with Prof Simon Kroll, notably on the role of the enzyme superoxide dismutase C (SodC) in the virulence of bacterial pathogens. His current research interests include (1) Bacterial respiratory pathogens of swine, in particular, mechanisms of pathogenicity, population biology, sRNAs, vaccines and diagnostics for the pig pathogen Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae, and point of care diagnostics for the porcine respiratory disease complex; (2) Tuberculosis including diagnostics, development of antimicrobial peptides for treatment, and evaluation of Galleria mellonella (the wax moth) as a surrogate model; (3) The development of broad cross-protective vaccines for pneumococcal and meningococcal disease using Reverse Vaccinology 2.0 principles. PL’s funding has mainly come from the BBSRC – and he headed the recently finished LoLa-funded BRaDP1T Consortium aimed to design new diagnostics and vaccines for swine bacterial respiratory pathogens – and industry, including Ceva, GSK, IDT, and Zoetis.