February 3 2011

10:00 LSB 2320

This seminar is sponsored by The Departments of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and Microbiology, Immunology, & Molecular Genetics

Margaret Jean McFall-Ngai
Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

First Contact: Host Recruitment of Symbionts from the Bacterioplankton


Most animal body plans arose in the Cambrian, in the microbe-rich environments of the ancient oceans. In response to this biotic selection pressure, animals developed mechanisms by which to interact with microbes, along a spectrum from complete resistance to obligate symbiosis. Among most extant symbiotic associations, microbial partners are horizontally transmitted, i.e., obtained from the environment anew each generation. The site of first contact between partners, and often that of persistent colonization, is along the apical surfaces of epithelia. The symbiosis between the Hawaiian bobtail squid, Euprymna scolopes, and its luminous bacterial symbiont, Vibrio fischeri, has been developed as a natural model for the study of initiation and maintenance of these prevalent types of relationships. The association is established within hours of the first interaction between partners, allowing for the hour-by-hour deciphering of the cellular and molecular conversation that ensues between the partners. This presentation will focus on current and future directions in the study of the first minutes to hours of the association, a time when the symbiont negotiates a transition from a free-living member of the bacterioplankton to a resident in the epithelium-lined crypt spaces of the juvenile animal's light organ.











































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































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