Conor O'Byrne

Senior Lecturer BSC PHD

Contact Details


Microbiology
105B
Bacterial Stress Response Group
Microbiology
School of Natural Sciences

E: conor.obyrne@nuigalway.ie
 
researcher

Biography

BIOGRAPHY:

  • 2009-present: Vice dean for Internationalisation, College of Science, NUI Galway, IRELAND.
  • 2002-Present: Lecturer, Microbiology, NUI Galway, IRELAND. 
  • 2000-2002: University Lecturer, University of Aberdeen, SCOTLAND. 
  • 1997-2000: ACT(R) Post Doctoral Fellow, University of Aberdeen, SCOTLAND. 
  • 1994-1997: Post Doctoral Researcher, Colworth Laboratory, Unilever Plc, ENGLAND. 
  • 1990-1994: PhD, University of Dundee (Biochemistry), SCOTLAND. 
  • 1986-1990: BSc, Microbiology, University College Cork, IRELAND .
RESEARCH INTERESTS:

  • Bacterial food-borne pathogens
  • Listeria monocytogenes
  • Escherichia coli
  • Molecular responses to stress 
  • Osmoregulation
  • Acid stress responses
  • Sigma factors
  • Mechanisms of environmental persistence
  • Transcriptional responses to environmental stimuli

Research Interests

RESEARCH INTERESTS:

  • Bacterial food-borne pathogens
  • Listeria monocytogenes
  • Escherichia coli
  • Molecular responses to stress 
  • Osmoregulation
  • Acid stress responses
  • Sigma factors
  • Mechanisms of environmental persistence
  • Transcriptional responses to environmental stimuli
SYNOPSIS OF ACTIVITY:

The Bacterial Stress Response Group (www.nuigalway.ie/microbiology/cpoblab/) was established in 2000 in the University of Aberdeen and then relocated to NUI Galway in 2002. Since the group’s inception 9 PhD students, 8 MSc students and over 60 final year project students have successfully completed their degrees under my supervision. The group has attracted significant research income totalling more than 5 million euro, from a diverse range of sources including the NIH, food industry, the EU and SFI. The research from the group has been published extensively in highly-ranked international journals and presented at national and international symposia, with over 100 scientific communications in total.

Research activity within the group centres on an interest in the mechanisms that food-borne bacterial pathogens use to respond and adapt to environmental perturbations. Research projects have focussed on important bacterial pathogens including Salmonella Typhimurium, Escherichia coli and Listeria monocytogenes, all of which cause significant food-borne infections in humans. This research is essential to develop a more complete understanding of how bacterial cells grow and persist in the environment. An understanding of how these pathogens adapt to their environment will also be central to any strategy aimed at curbing their growth both within the host and within the food-chain.

Currently the Bacterial Stress Response Group consists of 5 postgraduate students (all registered for PhD degrees). Several projects focus on understanding the molecular responses to stress in the human pathogen Listeria monocytogenes, including its responses to oxygen depletion, acidic conditions, increased osmolarity, and light. Another research avenue within the group at present is the identification of novel host association factors expressed within the gastrointestinal microbiota.

The group has a strong network of collaborators within Europe (University of Brigthon; University of St Andrews; University of Aberdeen; INRA, Dijon; Pasteur Institute, Paris; Technische Universitat Munchen, Germany; University of Milan; University of Turku, Finland), the US (Cornell; Harvard; and the University of North Carolina Charlotte) and Ireland (UCC; TCD; UCD). These collaborations have helped to secure research funding, they have supported student exchanges, exchange of research materials and expertise, and they have supported numerous joint publications. 

Peer Reviewed Journals

  Year Publication
(2013) 'Listeria monocytogenes has a functional gamma-aminobutyrate (GABA) shunt: Role in acid tolerance and succinate biosynthesis'
Feehily C, O'Byrne CP, Karatzas KA. (2013) 'Listeria monocytogenes has a functional gamma-aminobutyrate (GABA) shunt: Role in acid tolerance and succinate biosynthesis'. Applied And Environmental Microbiology, 79 (1):74-80 [ARAN Link] [Details]
(2012) 'Thiamine plays a critical role in the acid tolerance of Listeria monocytogenes'
Madeo M, O'Riordan N, Fuchs TM, Utratna M, Karatzas KA, O'Byrne CP. (2012) 'Thiamine plays a critical role in the acid tolerance of Listeria monocytogenes'. Fems Microbiology Letters, 326 (2):137-143 [Details]
(2012) 'Development and optimization of an EGFP-based reporter for measuring the general stress response in Listeria monocytogenes. Bioeng Bugs'
Utratna M, Cosgrave E, Baustian C, Ceredig R, O'Byrne C. (2012) 'Development and optimization of an EGFP-based reporter for measuring the general stress response in Listeria monocytogenes. Bioeng Bugs'. Bioengineered Bugs, 3 (2):20-28 [Details]
(2011) 'Rapid, transient, and proportional activation of σB in response to osmotic stress in Listeria monocytogenes'
Utratna, M., Shaw, I., Starr, E., O'Byrne, C.P. (2011) 'Rapid, transient, and proportional activation of σB in response to osmotic stress in Listeria monocytogenes'. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 77 (21):7841-7845 [Details]
(2011) 'Physiological and metabolic diversity in the yeast Kluyveromyces marxianus'
Lane, MM,Burke, N,Karreman, R,Wolfe, KH,O'Byrne, CP,Morrissey, JP (2011) 'Physiological and metabolic diversity in the yeast Kluyveromyces marxianus'. Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek International Journal Of General And Molecular Microbiology, 100 :507-519 [DOI] [Details]
(2011) 'A modified rapid enzymatic microtiter plate assay for the quantification of intracellular gamma-aminobutyric acid and succinate semialdehyde in bacterial cells'
O'Byrne, CP,Feehily, C,Ham, R,Karatzas, KAG (2011) 'A modified rapid enzymatic microtiter plate assay for the quantification of intracellular gamma-aminobutyric acid and succinate semialdehyde in bacterial cells'. Journal Of Microbiological Methods, 84 :137-139 [DOI] [Details]
(2010) 'Life in the gut: Microbial responses to stress in the gastrointestinal tract'
Louis P, and O'Byrne CP. (2010) 'Life in the gut: Microbial responses to stress in the gastrointestinal tract'. Science Progress, 93 :7-36 [Details]
(2010) 'Listeria monocytogenes: at the coalface of host-pathogen research'
O'Byrne CP and M. Utratna (2010) 'Listeria monocytogenes: at the coalface of host-pathogen research'. Bioengineered Bugs, 1 (6):1-7 [Details]
(2010) 'The Vibrio parahaemolyticus Type III Secretion Systems manipulate host cell MAPK for critical steps in pathogenesis'
Matlawska-Wasowska K, Finn R, Mustel A, O'Byrne CP, Baird AW, Coffey ET, Boyd A. (2010) 'The Vibrio parahaemolyticus Type III Secretion Systems manipulate host cell MAPK for critical steps in pathogenesis'. BMC Microbiology, 10 (1) [ARAN Link] [Details]
(2010) 'The Vibrio parahaemolyticus Type III Secretion Systems manipulate host cell MAPK for critical steps in pathogenesis'
Matlawska-Wasowska, K,Finn, R,Mustel, A,O'Byrne, CP,Baird, AW,Coffey, ET,Boyd, A (2010) 'The Vibrio parahaemolyticus Type III Secretion Systems manipulate host cell MAPK for critical steps in pathogenesis'. BMC Microbiology, 10 [DOI] [Details]
(2010) 'Intracellular Accumulation of High Levels of gamma-Aminobutyrate by Listeria monocytogenes 10403S in Response to Low pH: Uncoupling of gamma-Aminobutyrate Synthesis from Efflux in a Chemically Defined Medium'
Karatzas, KAG,Brennan, O,Heavin, S,Morrissey, J,O'Byrne, CP (2010) 'Intracellular Accumulation of High Levels of gamma-Aminobutyrate by Listeria monocytogenes 10403S in Response to Low pH: Uncoupling of gamma-Aminobutyrate Synthesis from Efflux in a Chemically Defined Medium'. Applied And Environmental Microbiology, 76 :3529-3537 [DOI] [Details]
(2009) 'Effect of weak acids on Listeria monocytogenes survival: Evidence for a viable but nonculturable state in response to low pH'
Cunningham, E,O'Byrne, C,Oliver, JD (2009) 'Effect of weak acids on Listeria monocytogenes survival: Evidence for a viable but nonculturable state in response to low pH'. Food Control, 20 :1141-1144 [DOI] [Details]
(2009) 'Inhibition of Listeria monocytogenes by acetate, benzoate and sorbate: weak acid tolerance is not influenced by the glutamate decarboxylase system'
Heavin, S.B., Brennan,O.M., Morrissey, J.P., and O'Byrne, CP. (2009) 'Inhibition of Listeria monocytogenes by acetate, benzoate and sorbate: weak acid tolerance is not influenced by the glutamate decarboxylase system'. Letters in Applied Microbiology, 49 :179-185 [Details]
(2008) 'The role of sigma B sigma B in the stress adaptations of Listeria monocytogenes: overlaps between stress adaptation and virulence'
O'Byrne CP, Karatzas KA. (2008) 'The role of sigma B sigma B in the stress adaptations of Listeria monocytogenes: overlaps between stress adaptation and virulence'. Advances In Applied Microbiology, Vol 45, 65 :115-140 [Details]
(2008) 'Identification of Components of the Sigma B Regulon in Listeria monocytogenes That Contribute to Acid and Salt Tolerance'
Abram, F,Starr, E,Karatzas, KAG,Matlawska-Wasowska, K,Boyd, A,Wiedmann, M,Boor, KJ,Connally, D,O'Byrne, CP (2008) 'Identification of Components of the Sigma B Regulon in Listeria monocytogenes That Contribute to Acid and Salt Tolerance'. Applied And Environmental Microbiology, 74 :6848-6858 [DOI] [ARAN Link] [Details]
(2008) 'Proteomic analyses of a Listeria monocytogenes mutant lacking sigma B identify new components of the sigmaB regulon and highlight a role for sigma B in the utilization of glycerol'
Abram F, Su WL, Wiedmann M, Boor KJ, Coote P, Botting C, Karatzas KA, O'Byrne CP. (2008) 'Proteomic analyses of a Listeria monocytogenes mutant lacking sigma B identify new components of the sigmaB regulon and highlight a role for sigma B in the utilization of glycerol'. Appl. Environ. Micro, 74 :594-604 [Details]
(2006) 'Global effects of homocysteine on transcription in Escherichia coli: induction of the gene for the major cold-shock protein'
Fraser KR, Tuite NL, Bhagwat A, O'Byrne C.P. (2006) 'Global effects of homocysteine on transcription in Escherichia coli: induction of the gene for the major cold-shock protein'. Microbiology, 152 (8):2221-2231 [Details]
(2005) 'Homocysteine toxicity in Escherichia coli is caused by a perturbation of branched-chain amino acid biosynthesis'
Tuite, NL,Fraser, KR,O'Byrne, CP (2005) 'Homocysteine toxicity in Escherichia coli is caused by a perturbation of branched-chain amino acid biosynthesis'. Journal Of Bacteriology, 187 :4362-4371 [DOI] [Details]
(2003) 'sB contributions to survival of lethal acidic conditions and to the acquired acid tolerance response are influenced by growth phase in Listeria monocytogenes'
Ferreira A, Sue D, O'Byrne CP, Boor KJ. (2003) 'sB contributions to survival of lethal acidic conditions and to the acquired acid tolerance response are influenced by growth phase in Listeria monocytogenes'. Appl Environ Microbiol, 69 (5):2692-2698 [Details]
(2003) 'Weak organic acids: a panoply of effects on bacteria'
Hirshfield IN, Terzulli S, O'Byrne C. (2003) 'Weak organic acids: a panoply of effects on bacteria'. Sci Prog, 86 (4):245-269 [Details]
(2003) 'The role of sigma B B in regulating the compatible solute uptake systems of Listeria monocytogenes: Osmotic induction of opuC is B-dependent'
Fraser KR, Sue D, Wiedmann M, Boor K, and O'Byrne CP. (2003) 'The role of sigma B B in regulating the compatible solute uptake systems of Listeria monocytogenes: Osmotic induction of opuC is B-dependent'. Appl Environ Microbiol, 69 (4):2015-2022 [Details]
(2003) 'Enrichment of E. coli proteins by column chromatography on reactive dye columns'
Birch RM, O'Byrne C, Booth IR, Cash P. (2003) 'Enrichment of E. coli proteins by column chromatography on reactive dye columns'. Proteomics, 3 (5):764-776 [Details]
(2002) 'Osmoprotection by carnitine in a Listeria monocytogenes mutant lacking the OpuC transporter: evidence for a low affinity carnitine uptake system'
Fraser, KR,O'Byrne, CP (2002) 'Osmoprotection by carnitine in a Listeria monocytogenes mutant lacking the OpuC transporter: evidence for a low affinity carnitine uptake system'. Fems Microbiology Letters, 211 :189-194 [DOI] [Details]
(2002) 'Sensing and adapting to acid stress'
Booth IR, Cash P, O'Byrne C. (2002) 'Sensing and adapting to acid stress'. Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek, 81 (01-Apr):33-42 [Details]
(2002) 'Physiological analysis of the role of truB in Escherichia coli: a role for tRNA modification in extreme temperature resistance'
Kinghorn SM, O'Byrne CP, Booth IR, Stansfield I. (2002) 'Physiological analysis of the role of truB in Escherichia coli: a role for tRNA modification in extreme temperature resistance'. Microbiology, 148 (11):3511-3520 [Details]
(2002) 'Inhibition of Escherichia coli growth by acetic acid: a problem with methionine biosynthesis and homocysteine toxicity'
Roe AJ, O'Byrne C, McLaggan D, Booth IR. (2002) 'Inhibition of Escherichia coli growth by acetic acid: a problem with methionine biosynthesis and homocysteine toxicity'. Microbiology, 148 (7):2215-2222 [Details]
(2002) 'Osmoregulation and its importance to food-borne microorganisms'
O'Byrne CP, Booth IR. (2002) 'Osmoregulation and its importance to food-borne microorganisms'. Int J Food Microbiol, 74 (3):203-216 [Details]
(2001) 'Role of sigma B in heat, ethanol, acid, and oxidative stress resistance and during carbon starvation in Listeria monocytogenes'
Ferreira A, O'Byrne CP, Boor KJ. (2001) 'Role of sigma B in heat, ethanol, acid, and oxidative stress resistance and during carbon starvation in Listeria monocytogenes'. Appl Environ Microbiol, 67 (10):4454-4457 [Details]
(2000) 'Molecular strategies for osmoregulation in the human food-borne pathogen Listeria monocytogenes'
O'Byrne CP, and Fraser KR. (2000) 'Molecular strategies for osmoregulation in the human food-borne pathogen Listeria monocytogenes'. Recent Research Developments in Microbiology, 4 :617-629 [Details]
(2000) 'Identification and characterization of an ATP binding cassette L-carnitine transporter in Listeria monocytogenes'
Fraser KR, Harvie D, Coote PJ, O'Byrne CP. (2000) 'Identification and characterization of an ATP binding cassette L-carnitine transporter in Listeria monocytogenes'. Appl Environ Microbiol, 66 (11):4696-4704 [Details]
(2000) 'Rapid inactivation of the Escherichia coli Kdp K+ uptake system by high potassium concentrations'
Roe AJ, McLaggan D, O'Byrne CP, Booth IR. (2000) 'Rapid inactivation of the Escherichia coli Kdp K+ uptake system by high potassium concentrations'. Mol Microbiol, 35 (5):1235-1243 [Details]
(1999) 'Survival of low-pH stress by Escherichia coli O157:H7: correlation between alterations in the cell envelope and increased acid tolerance'
Jordan KN, Oxford L, O'Byrne CP. (1999) 'Survival of low-pH stress by Escherichia coli O157:H7: correlation between alterations in the cell envelope and increased acid tolerance'. Appl Environ Microbiol, 65 (7):3048-3055 [Details]
(1998) 'Pathogenicity in isolates of Salmonella enterica serotype Enteritidis PT4 which differ in RpoS expression: effects of growth phase and low temperature'
Humphrey TJ, Williams A, McAlpine K, Jorgensen F, O'Byrne C. (1998) 'Pathogenicity in isolates of Salmonella enterica serotype Enteritidis PT4 which differ in RpoS expression: effects of growth phase and low temperature'. Epidemiol Infect, 121 (2):295-301 [Details]
(1998) 'Perturbation of anion balance during inhibition of growth of Escherichia coli by weak acids'
Roe AJ, McLaggan D, Davidson I, O'Byrne C, Booth IR. (1998) 'Perturbation of anion balance during inhibition of growth of Escherichia coli by weak acids'. J Bacteriol, 180 (4):767-772 [Details]
(1996) 'Acid tolerance in Listeria monocytogenes: the adaptive acid tolerance response ATR and growth-phase-dependent acid resistance'
Davis MJ, Coote PJ, O'Byrne CP. (1996) 'Acid tolerance in Listeria monocytogenes: the adaptive acid tolerance response ATR and growth-phase-dependent acid resistance'. Microbiology, 140 (10):2975-2982 [Details]
(1994) 'The spv virulence operon of Salmonella typhimurium LT2 is regulated negatively by the cyclic AMP cAMP -cAMP receptor protein system'
O'Byrne CP, Dorman CJ. (1994) 'The spv virulence operon of Salmonella typhimurium LT2 is regulated negatively by the cyclic AMP cAMP -cAMP receptor protein system'. J Bacteriol, [Details]
(1994) 'Transcription of the Salmonella typhimurium spv virulence locus is regulated negatively by the nucleoid-associated protein H-NS'
O'Byrne CP, Dorman CJ. (1994) 'Transcription of the Salmonella typhimurium spv virulence locus is regulated negatively by the nucleoid-associated protein H-NS'. FEMS Microbiol Lett, [Details]
(1992) 'The DNA supercoiling-sensitive expression of the Salmonella typhimurium his operon requires the his attenuator and is modulated by anaerobiosis and by osmolarity'
O'Byrne CP, Ni Bhriain N, Dorman CJ. (1992) 'The DNA supercoiling-sensitive expression of the Salmonella typhimurium his operon requires the his attenuator and is modulated by anaerobiosis and by osmolarity'. Mol Microbiol, 6 (17):2467-2476 [Details]

Book Chapters

  Year Publication
(2012) 'Post-genomic insights into the regulation of transcription in the facultative intracelluar pathogen Listeria monocytogenes'
Heavin, S., & C.P. O’Byrne (2012) 'Post-genomic insights into the regulation of transcription in the facultative intracelluar pathogen Listeria monocytogenes' In: Stress Responses in Foodborne Microorganisms. USA: Wong, E. [Details]

Conference Paper

  Year Publication
(2010) Analysis of the signalling pathway involved in the IL-8 secretion response by eukaryotic intestinal epithelial cells after Vibrio parahaemolyticus infection. The Society for General Microbiology Irish Branch Meeting.
Mustel A, O’Byrne C, A Boyd. (2010) Analysis of the signalling pathway involved in the IL-8 secretion response by eukaryotic intestinal epithelial cells after Vibrio parahaemolyticus infection. The Society for General Microbiology Irish Branch Meeting. Conference Paper [Details]
(2009) Analysis of the signalling pathway involved in the IL-8 secretion response by eukaryotic intestinal epithelial cells after Vibrio parahaemolyticus infection. Vibrio 2009 - Third conference on the biology of Vibrios.
Mustel A, O’Byrne C, A Boyd. (2009) Analysis of the signalling pathway involved in the IL-8 secretion response by eukaryotic intestinal epithelial cells after Vibrio parahaemolyticus infection. Vibrio 2009 - Third conference on the biology of Vibrios. Conference Paper [Details]

Conference Poster

  Year Publication
(2012) Identification and characterization of novel glycan binding determinants in the human gut metagenome using bioinformatics and functional metagenomics. The Society for General Microbiology Annual Meeting 2012.
Agbavwe, C; Louis, P; Jones, B; Boyd, A; Joshi, L; O’Byrne, C (2012) Identification and characterization of novel glycan binding determinants in the human gut metagenome using bioinformatics and functional metagenomics. The Society for General Microbiology Annual Meeting 2012. Conference Poster [Details]

Reviews

  Year Publication
(2008) The Role of Sigma B (sigma(B)) in the Stress Adaptations of Listeria monocytogenes: Overlaps Between Stress Adaptation and Virulence.
O'Byrne, CP,Karatzas, KAG (2008) The Role of Sigma B (sigma(B)) in the Stress Adaptations of Listeria monocytogenes: Overlaps Between Stress Adaptation and Virulence. Reviews [DOI] [Details]

Workshops

  Year Publication
(2007) Coping with stress: the role of sigma B in modulating gene expression in the human pathogen Listeria monocytogenes. University College Dublin, School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science.
O'Byrne, C. (2007) Coping with stress: the role of sigma B in modulating gene expression in the human pathogen Listeria monocytogenes. University College Dublin, School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science. University College Dublin: Workshops [Details]
(2005) Escherichia coli as a model system for understanding heart disease in humans?. University of Edinburgh, Institute of Cell and Molecular Biology.
O'Byrne, C. (2005) Escherichia coli as a model system for understanding heart disease in humans?. University of Edinburgh, Institute of Cell and Molecular Biology. University of Edinburgh: Workshops [Details]
(2004) Understanding the basis for homocysteine toxicity in Escherichia coli. University College Cork, Department of Microbiology.
O'Byrne, C. (2004) Understanding the basis for homocysteine toxicity in Escherichia coli. University College Cork, Department of Microbiology. University College Cork: Workshops [Details]
(2002) Acetate stress in Escherichia coli: A problem with methionine biosynthesis and homocysteine toxicity. Microbial Stress Response Conference.
O'Byrne, C. (2002) Acetate stress in Escherichia coli: A problem with methionine biosynthesis and homocysteine toxicity. Microbial Stress Response Conference. Salve Regina University, Newport, RI, USA: Workshops [Details]
(2002) Exploring links between weak acid stress in Escherichia coli and heart disease in humans. Moyne Institute for Preventative Medicine, Trinity College Dublin.
O'Byrne, C. (2002) Exploring links between weak acid stress in Escherichia coli and heart disease in humans. Moyne Institute for Preventative Medicine, Trinity College Dublin. Trinity College Dublin: Workshops [Details]
(2002) From heart disease in humans to weak acid stress in E. Coli. NUI Galway, Department of Microbiology.
O'Byrne, C. (2002) From heart disease in humans to weak acid stress in E. Coli. NUI Galway, Department of Microbiology. Workshops [Details]