Antibiotic resistance, viruses and conjugation

I am currently an academy research fellow of the Academy of Finland, and I am visiting University of Cambridge till the end of 2017. I got my PhD in molecular microbiology in 2010 after which I did a post-doc in Australian National University. My research currently focuses on the evolution of malignant cellular phenotypes (such as drug-resistance among bacteria) and on viruses and engineered conjugative plasmids as a mean to both directly destroy those cells and to change the fitness-landscape back to our favour. My science is funded by the Academy of Finland and Emil Aaltonen Foundation and is being conducted as a part of The Centre of Excellence in Biological Interactions of the Universities of Jyväskylä and Helsinki. 

(c) Outi Paloheimo

Research themes

  • Bacteriophages / plasmid-dependent phages
  • Genomic vs phenotypic responses to stress
  • Horizontal gene transfer under bacterial stress
  • Evolution and maintenance of antibiotic resistance 

The number of antibiotic resistant infections are continuously increasing worldwide and thus the problems caused by 'super bacteria' are declared as one of the most acute problems of modern health care. We are doing both basic and applied research with multi-drug resistant bacteria. Namely, we investigate why some Klebsiella pneumoniae strains have become epidemic whereas other equally resistant strains have not. Further, we are developing ways to prevent the spread of antibiotic resistances, cure ESBL-carriage and to treat antibiotic resistant bacterial infections.

I utilize experimental evolution, genomics, genetic engineering, different microscopy techniques and computational simulations to approach the research questions. My key collaborators can be found from the University of Helsinki, Karolinska Institute, University of Exeter, University of York, Pasteur Institute and Max Plank Institute.

Bioimaging 2016 winner: Cel(l)ebrity Deathmatch: HeLa vs. E. coli K-12. (c)  MJ/KK


matti.jalasvuori [&]


Check my book on science, viruses, life and the universe:

Find it here. Available only in Finnish.  


Ruotsalainen P, Penttinen R, Mattila S, Jalasvuori M. (2019) Midbiotics: Conjugative plasmids for genetic engineering of natural gut flora. Gut Microbes. In press.

Mikonranta L, Buckling A, Jalasvuori M, Raymond B. (2019) Targeting antibiotic resistant bacteria with phage reduces bacterial density in an insect host. Biol Lett. 15:20180895.

Sokołowska K, Malola S, Lahtinen M , Saarnio V, Permi P, Koskinen K, Jalasvuori M, Häkkinen H, Lehtovaara L, and Lahtinen T. (2019) Towards Controlled Synthesis of Water-Soluble Gold Nanoclusters: Synthesis and Analysis. J. Phys. Chem. C. 123: 2602–2612

Hiltunen T, Cairns J, Frickel J, Jalasvuori M, Laakso J, Kaitala V, Künzel S, Karakoc E, and Becks L. (2018) Multi-stressor selection alters eco-evolutionary dynamics in experimental communities. Nature Ecology & Evolution. 2: 1974–1981.

Cairns J, Koskinen K, Penttinen R, Patinen T, Hartikainen A, Jokela R, Ruusulehto L, Viitamäki S, Mattila S, Hiltunen T and Jalasvuori M (2018) Black Queen evolution and trophic interactions determine plasmid survival after the disruption of conjugation network. mSystems. 3: e00104-18.

Garofalo M, Saari H, Somersalo P, Crescenti D, Kuryk L, Aksela L, Capasso C, Madetoja M, Koskinen K, Oksanen T, Mäkitie A, Jalasvuori M, Cerullo V, Ciana P, Yliperttula M. (2018) Antitumor effect of oncolytic virus and paclitaxel encapsulated in extracellular vesicles for lung cancer treatment. J Control Release. 283:223-234 doi: 10.1016/j.jconrel.2018.05.015.

Jalasvuori M, Koskinen K. (2018) Extending the hosts of Tectiviridae into four additional genera of Gram-positive bacteria and more diverse Bacillus species. Virology. 518:136-142. doi: 10.1016/j.virol.2018.02.014.

Jalasvuori M, Penttinen R. (2017) What can evolutionary rescue tell us about the emergence of new resistant bacteria? Future Microbiol. 12:731-733. DOI: 10.2217/fmb-2017-0079

Mattila S, Ruotsalainen P, Ojala V, Tuononen T, Hiltunen T and Jalasvuori M (2017) Conjugative ESBL-plasmids differ in their potential to rescue susceptible bacteria via horizontal gene transfer in lethal antibiotic concentrations. Journal of Antibiotics.70:805-808.

Cairns J, Frickel J, Jalasvuori M, Hiltunen T and Becks L (2017) Genomic evolution of bacterial populations under co-selection by antibiotics and phage. Molecular Ecology. 26:1848-1859. DOI: 10.1111/mec.13950

Cairns J, Jalasvuori M, Becks L and Hiltunen T (2016) Sublethal streptomycin concentrations and lytic bacteriophage together promote resistance evolution. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. 372: 1712.
Ojala V, Mattila S, Hoikkala V, Bamford JKH, Hiltunen T, Jalasvuori M. (2016) Scoping the effectiveness and evolutionary obstacles in utilizing plasmid-dependent phages to fight antibiotic resistance. Future microbiology. 11: 999-1009.

Cairns J, Jalasvuori M, Ojala V, Brockhurst M, Hiltunen T. (2016) Conjugation is necessary for a bacterial plasmid to survive under protozoan predation. 
Biology Letters. 12: 20150953

Puurtinen M, Elo M, Jalasvuori M, Kahilainen A, Ketola T, Kotiaho JS, Mönkkönen M, Pentikäinen OT.
(2016) Temperature-dependent mutational robustness can explain faster molecular evolution at warm temperatures, affecting speciation rate and global patterns of species diversity. Ecography. 39: 1025-1033.

Mattila S, Ruotsalainen P, Jalasvuori M. (2015) On-demand isolation of bacteriophages against drug-resistant bacteria for personalized phage therapy. Frontiers in Microbiology. 6: 1271.

Jalasvuori M, Mattila S, Hoikkala V. (2015) Chasing the origin of viruses: Capsid-forming genes as a life-saving preadaptation within a community of early replicators. PLoS One. 10:e0126094.

Jalasvuori M, Koonin E. (2015) Classification of Prokaryotic Genetic Replicators: Between Selfishness and Altruism.  Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 1341:96-105.

Jalasvuori M, Lehtonen J. (2014) Virus epidemics can lead to a population-wide spread of intragenomic parasites in a previously parasite-free asexual population. Mol Ecol.  23: 987-91.

Jalasvuori M and Bamford JKH. (2014) Evolutionary Approach to Viruses in Astrobiology. In Astrobiology: an Evolutionary Approach. Ed: Vera Kolb. CRC Press. ISBN 1466584610.

Ojala V, Mattila S, Hoikkala V, Bamford JKH, Jalasvuori M. (2014) Evolutionary rescue of bacteria via horizontal gene transfer under lethal beta-lactam concentration. Journal of Global Antimicrobial Resistance. 2: 198-200.

Shaw A, Jalasvuori M, Kokko H. (2014) Population-level consequences of risky dispersal. Oikos. 123: 1003-1013.

Pawlowski A, Rissanen I, Bamford JKH, Krupovic M, Jalasvuori M. (2014) "Gammasphaerolipovirus", a newly proposed bacteriophage genus, unifies viruses of halophilic archaea and thermophilic bacteria within the novel family "Sphaerolipoviridae". Arch Virol. 159:1541-54.

Örmälä A-M., Jalasvuori M. (2013) Phage therapy: should bacterial resistance to phages be a concern, even in the long run? Bacteriophage, 3:e24219.

Ojala V, Laitalainen J, Jalasvuori M (2013) Fight evolution with evolution: plasmid-dependent phages with a wide host range prevent the spread of antibiotic resistances.Evolutionary applications, 6:925-32.

Jalasvuori, M., Palmu, S., Gillis, A., Kokko, H., Mahillon, J., Bamford, J. K. and Fornelos, N. (2012) Identification of five novel tectiviruses in Bacillus strains: analysis of a highly variable region generating genetic diversity. Research in Microbiology, 164:118-26.

Jalasvuori M. (2012) Revolutionary struggle for existence: introduction to four intriguing puzzles in virus research. In Viruses: Essential Agents of Life. Günther Witzany (ed.) Springer. ISBN 978-94-007-4898-9

Jalasvuori M. (2012) Vehicles, replicators, and intercellular movement of genetic information: evolutionary dissection of a bacterial cell. Int J Evol Biol 2012, 874153.

Jaakkola S.T., Penttinen R.K., Vilén S.T., Jalasvuori M., Rönnholm G., Bamford J.K.H., Bamford D.H. and Oksanen H.M. (2012). Closely related archaeal Haloarcula hispanica icosahedral viruses HHIV-2 and SH1 have nonhomologous genes encoding host recognition functions. J. Virol. 86, 4734-42.

Jalasvuori M., Friman V-P., Nieminen A., Bamford J.K.H. and Buckling A. (2011). Bacteriophage selection against a plasmid-encoded sex-apparatus leads to the loss of antibiotic resistance plasmids. Biol Lett. 23, 902-5.

Jalasvuori M. (2011). Horizontal movement of genetic information during early evolution of life and the timescale for the origin of the first gene. J Cosmol. 16, 7017-20.

Friman V.P., Hiltunen T., Jalasvuori M., Lindstedt C., Laanto E., Örmälä A.M., Laakso J., Mappes J. and Bamford J.K.H. (2011). High temperature and bacteriophages can indirectly select for bacterial pathogenicity in environmental reservoirs. PLoS ONE 6(3): e17651.

Jalasvuori M. (2010) Viruses are ancient parasites that have influenced the evolution of contemporary and archaic forms of life. Jyväskylä studies in biological and environmental science 213. ISBN: 978-951-39-3996-0  

Jalasvuori M., Jalasvuori M.P. and Bamford J.K.H. (2010). Dynamics of a Laterally Evolving Community of Ribozyme-like Agents as Studied with a Rule-based Computing SystemOrig Life Evol Biosph 40, 319-334.

Jalasvuori M., Pawlowski A. and Bamford J.K.H. (2010). A Unique Group of Virus-Related Genome Integrating Elements Found Solely in the Bacterial Family Thermaceae and the Archaeal Family Halobacteriaceae. J. Bact 192, 3231-3234.

Jalasvuori M., and Bamford J.K.H. (2010). Viruses and life: Can There Be One Without The Other? J. Cosmol, 10, 3446-3454.
Jalasvuori M., Jaatinen S.T., Laurinavicius S., Ahola-Iivarinen E., Kalkkinen N., Bamford D.H. and Bamford J.K.H. (2009). The Closest Relatives of Icosahedral Viruses of Thermophilic Bacteria Are among Halophilic ArchaeaJ Virol. 83, 9388-97.
Jalasvuori M. and Bamford, J.K.H. (2009). Did the Ancient Crenarchaeal Viruses from the Dawn of Life Survive Exceptionally Well the Eons of Meteorite Bombardment? Astrobiology 9, 131-137.  

Jalasvuori M., Örmälä A-M., and Bamford, J.K.H. (2009). On the astrobiological relevance of viruses in extraterrestrial ecosystemsInt J Astrobio 8, 95-100.

Sozhamannan S., McKinstry M., Lentz S.M., Jalasvuori M., McAfee F., Smith A., Dabbs J., Ackermann H.W., Bamford J.K.H., Mateczun A., Read T.D. (2008). Molecular Characterization of a Variant of Bacillus anthracis Specific Phage AP50 with Improved Bacteriolytic Activity. Appl Environ Microbiol 74, 6792-6.

Jalasvuori M. and Bamford, J.K.H. (2008). Structural Co-Evolution of Viruses and Cells in the Primordial World. 
Orig Life Evol Biosph 38, 165–181.