Past seminars since 2016

Host: Prof. Dr. Andreas Brune

Darwin’s invertebrates: A transient anoxic microbial oasis

MPI Seminar

Genomics of uncultivable bacteria deciphers multilayered symbiotic system in the termite gut

MPI Seminar

Microbial symbionts of leaf-cutting ants (Atta and Acromyrmex)

Microbiology Seminar Series
Leaf-cutting ants harvest substantial amounts of leaf material to cultivate a specialized fungus for food (Leucoagaricus). This complex symbiosis includes at least four coevolved organisms: the farming ants, their fungal crop, a specialized mycoparasite of the ant’s fungal gardens (Escovopsis), and actinomycete bacteria (Pseudonocardia) that the ants culture on their bodies to obtain antibiotics against the parasites. We described an additional symbiosis with Nitrogen-fixing bacteria that colonize the fungus gardens and contribute to supplement the ants’ nutrition. Our present research efforts in Costa Rica focus on potential biotechnological applications of the ants’ microbial symbionts, including bioprospecting for new antibiotics and developing microbial-based biocontrol strategies. [more]

The evolution of symbiosis in cockroaches: a genomic and phylogenetic perspective

Metabolic lifestyle and energy conservation tricks of giant, symbiotic bacteria – the special case of Epulopiscium

Special seminar

Bacterial-fungal interactions in decaying wood: diversity and contribution to biogeochemical cycles

Special seminar

Oxymonads – eukaryotes without mitochondrion

Mitochondrion is a key evolutionary inventions specific to the eukaryotic cell. Oxymonads remained as one of a few eukaryotic groups, where no mitochondrion has been revealed so far. We have performed detailed genomic and transcriptomic study of oxymonad Monocercomonoides sp., which demonstrates the absence of mitochondrial hallmark proteins. The most striking is the absence of canonical mitochondrial protein import machinery and the substitution of mitochondrial iron sulphur cluster biosynthetic pathway (ISC) by the sulphur mobilization system (SUF). We conclude that Monocercomonoides represents the first report of amitochondriate eukaryote demonstrating the fact that under some circumstances eukaryotes may entirely loose mitochondrion. [more]
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