Morphogenic Signaling Molecules
More and more examples show that bacterially produced small molecules contribute to the host’s fitness and development by acting as biological information carrier to maintain and modulate the multilateral interaction network. But fully characterized examples are still rare, and the mode-of-actions of those molecules are often not well understood.
We are investigating the model system Hydractinia echinata, a marine hydroid polyp, to identify key metabolites that induce biofouling. The life cycle of H. echinata has a motile (larvae) and sessil reproductive phase (polyp). The irreversible morphogenesis from the motile larvae to the sessile primary polyp is induced by specific molecules from members of the genus Pseudoalteromonas. But the structure determination and and mode of action of the signaling molecules has been so far elusive. We use a broad range of molecular biology methods to identify the bacterial cues and the receptor in the marine hydroid polyp to understand the interaction mechanisms in more detail.
Choanoflagellates are water-dwelling predators of bacteria. Due to their phylogenetic placement as the closest living single-celled relatives of animals, choanoflagellates have emerged as important model systems to study the evolution and genomic basis of multicellularity. While predominately unicellular, several choanoflagellate species have multicellular life stages, including rosette colonies that arise from serial cell division without separation of sister cells.
Microorganisms protect and shape the colonial hydroid polyp Hydractinia
- EX-SPHINGO (DFG)
- ERC (H2020-EU.1.1. - EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))