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Infos für Öffentlichkeit | Studenten | Wirtschaft
Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
Math.-Naturw. Fakultät | Botanisches Institut und Botanischer Garten
Interaktionen von Schimmelpilzen und Insekten
Siegel der Fakultät
Abteilung für Botanische Genetik und Molekularbiologie
Prof. Dr. Frank Kempken


Interactions of moulds and insects

Filamentous fungi and saprophage insects are suspected to be competitors on decaying organic matter. Both organisms have equal requirements considering habitat and nutrition. Insect larvae negatively influence mould development, but filamentous fungi can be an important cause of mortality of insect larvae. These competitions in insect-mould interactions have largely been ignored.

Using a combination of experimental ecology and functional genomic techniques the function of moulds secondary metabolites (e.g. mycotoxins) as a chemical defence in insects-moulds-interactions as well as the influence of these competitors at trophic interaction between insects ought to be investigated. For our research the vinegar fly Drosophila melanogaster and its natural mould antagonist Aspergillus were used as a form of ecology model system. By the use of gene expression experiments from secondary metabolism of moulds which interact on festered matter with the antagonistic Drosophila larvae we want to identify fungal target genes. Furthermore the expressions of target genes have to be manipulated to obtain fungal mutants to analyse their use as competitors with insect larvae. The aim of these experiments is to show the importance of fungal secondary metabolism and if these products offer a defence against the concurrent insect larvae respectively. Therefore the consequence on evolutionary fitness of the fungi and insect will be analysed.

  • REGULIN A, KEMPKEN F (2018) Fungal genotype determines survival of Drosophila melanogaster when competing with Aspergillus nidulans. PLoS ONE 13: e0190543. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0190543
  • FOHGRUB U, KEMPKEN F (2012) Molecular analysis of fungal gene expression upon interkingdom competition with insects. Methods Mol Biol 944:279-286
  • KEMPKEN F (2011) Fungal defences against animal antagonists – lectins & more. Molecular Ecology 20:2876-2877
  • KEMPKEN F, ROHLFS M (2010) Fungal secondary metabolite biosynthesis – a chemical defense strategy against antagonistic animals? Fungal Ecol 3:107-114
  • ROHLFS M, TRIENENS M, FOHGRUB U, KEMPKEN F (2009) Evolutionary and ecological interactions of mould and insects. In: ANKE T (ed) The Mycota XV. Physiology and Genetics: Selected Basic and Applied Aspects. Springer Verlag, New York, Dordrecht, Heidelberg, London, pp131-151
  • ROHLFS M, ALBERT M, KELLER NP, KEMPKEN F (2007) Secondary chemicals protect mould from fungivory. Biol Lett, doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2007.0338



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