The evolution and genetics of C. elegans-microbiota interactions

As all multicellular organisms, the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans is associated with a speciose and individual-rich microbial community in nature, its so-called microbiota or microbiome. To date, we have very little understanding of the exact composition of the microbiota, its functions, and its importance during evolutionary adaptation of the worm. Our work aims at using C. elegans as a versatile model host to study both the evolution and genetics of host-microbiota interactions. For this purpose, we use an experimental nematode microbiome, derived from the microbial community naturally associatd with C. elegans, and perform controlled evolution experiments, phenotypic and microscopic characterizations, and also genetic, transcriptomic, and also genomic analyses.

Involved people: Julia Johnke, Kohar Kissoyan, Nancy Obeng, Katja Dierking, Hinrich Schulenburg

Collaborators: Matthias Leippe (Kiel), Barbara Pees, Carola Petersen, Andreas Tholey (Kiel), Liam Cassidy, Arne Traulsen (Ploen, Germany), Michael Sieber, Thomas Bosch and Sebastian Fraune (Kiel), Christoph Kaleta, Johannes Zimmermann, Henrique Teotónio (Paris, France), and Philip Rosenstiel (ICMB, Kiel)

Funding: the Collaborative Research Center on the Origin and Function of Metaorganisms (CRC 1182)