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Prof. Dr. Lotte Søgaard-Andersen
MPI für terrestrische Mikrobiologie
Karl-von-Frisch-Straße 10
D-35043 Marburg / Germany
Phone: +49 6421 178201
Fax: +49 6421 178209

Research group members
Group leader: Prof. Dr. Lotte Søgaard-Andersen

Lab-Manager: Susanne Kneip

Scientific staff members: Dr. Anke Treuner-Lange

Postdoctoral Fellows: Dr. Deepak Anand, Dr. Anna McLoon, Dr. Nuria Gomez Santos, Dr. Magdalena Polatynska

PhD students: Luis Carreira, Sabrina Huneke, Maria Perez Burgos, Janina Gabriella Foronda, Sofya Kuzmich, Anna Potapova, Dorota Skotnicka, Dominik Schumacher, Dobromir Szadkowski

Bachelor students: Ahmet Hilmi Tekin, Marco Herfurth

Technical assistants: Andrea Harms, Steffi Lindow, Elisabeth Ried

Prof. Dr. Lotte Søgaard-Andersen

Curriculum Vitae

Lotte Søgaard-Andersen (born 1959)
M. Sc. thesis (Molecular biology), University of Odense, 1984
Medical Doctor, University of Odense, 1988
Visiting scientist, Institut Pasteur, Paris, 1990
PhD (Molecular biology), University of Odense, 1991
Post-doc, University of Odense, 1991
Assistant professor, University of Odense, 1992
Visiting scientist, Stanford University, 1994
Associate professor, University of Southern Denmark, 1996
Professor, University of Southern Denmark, 2002
Director and Head of the Department of Ecophysiology at the MPI in Marburg, since 2004
Professor for Microbiology at the Philipps-Universität Marburg, since 2008

Group leaders at the department

Dr. Simon Ringgaard
Dr. Alexander Elsholz

Research area: Bacterial adaptation and differentiation

Bacterial cells process vast amounts of information to generate and regulate sophisticated output responses such as adaptation, differentiation, growth, cell movement and cell cycle progression. Information processing is carried out by complex networks of signal transduction proteins. A challenging problem in biology is to understand how these protein networks are organized in space and time to allow the ordered execution of these various tasks. We are probing this question by studying signal transduction pathways and networks governing development, differentiation, motility, cell polarity, and cell division in Myxococcus xanthus. In parallel approaches, we aim to understand how molecular machineries involved in motility and cell division function. In a top-down synthetic (micro)biology approach, we also use the lessons learned from studying naturally occurring bacteria to generate modules for synthetic and streamlined cells.

Myxococcus xanthus, the model organism

Cells of Myxococcus xanthus self-organize into two distinct biofilms or cellular patterns. In the presence of nutrients, the motile, rod-shaped cells grow and divide, and if present on a solid surface, they form cooperatively feeding colonies in which cells at the edge spread outwards. In response to starvation, growth ceases, cells change their motility behavior and a developmental program is initiated that culminates in the formation of multicellular fruiting bodies. After 24 hrs of starvation, nascent fruiting bodies have formed and the cells that have accumulated inside fruiting bodies differentiate to diploid spores. Thus, fruiting body formation is a wonderful model system to analyze how bacteria coordinate changes in motility behavior, gene expression and cell cycle regulation in response to an environmental stress signal.

The overall goal of our research is to understand how M. xanthus responds to starvation with the formation of spore-filled fruiting bodies. To this end, we study at the molecular and cellular level as well as at the theoretical level

Intercellular communication
Self-organization & pattern formation
Signal transduction by two component systems & the second messenger c-di-GMP
Regulation of motility & cell polarity
Cell cycle regulation with an emphasis on chromosome replication & cell division
Synthetic (micro)biology & cell polarity modularity

M. xanthus belongs to the myxobacteria that are the only bacteria that cope with starvation with the formation of fruiting bodies. Amazingly, the fruiting bodies formed by different myxobacteria have very different shapes varying from haystack-shaped (as in the case of M. xanthus), stalked, coral-shaped to tree-shaped. We use genome sequencing, comparative genomics and transcriptomics to understand

The genetic basis underlying differences in fruiting body morphology
The evolution of the genetic program(s) for fruiting body formation

We use a suite of experimental techniques including molecular genetics, biochemistry with protein purification and their in vitro characterization, cell biology with live cell fluorescence imaging, electron microscopy, proteomics, de novo sequencing of myxobacterial genomes, comparative genomics, and transcriptomics using RNAseq.

Publications since 1996