Project 1

Fungal life in soil: attachment and microbial communication

Prof. Dr. Erika Kothe (main supervisor)
Institute of Microbiology, Friedrich Schiller University
Dr. Katrin Krause (co supervisor)
Institute of Microbiology, Friedrich Schiller University
Prof. Dr. Jonathan Gershenzon (co supervisor)
Department of Biochemistry, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology

Fungi are drivers for soil bacterial community structure. At the same time, fungal hyphae are “highways” for bacterial movement in soil. We could show that a white rot fungus can survive and grow in soil and participate in rock bioweathering. With this model fungus, ecological interactions are to be explored taking full advantage of -omics strategies and collaborations.

Project description:
Using the model basidiomycete Schizophyllum commune, for which the genome sequence is available, it can grow in a haploid as well as a mated state on artificial media, and genetic amenability has been proven. With this project, hyphal decoration (for attraction of bacteria), surface interactions via cell wall attached proteins (hydrophobins), and exchange of signals with co-occurring bacteria (based on morphological responses of the fungus to isolates obtained from the same environment) are investigated.

Candidate profile:
MSc in microbiology and knowledge in molecular biology, knowledge with basidiomycete genetics is advantagous.

Reading (optional):

  1. Wirth S, Krause K, Kunert M, Broska S, Paetz C, Boland W, Kothe E. 2021. Function of sesquiterpenes from Schizophyllum commune in interspecific interactions. PLoS One. 16:e0245623.
  2. Kirtzel J, Ueberschaar N, Deckert-Gaudig T, Krause K, Deckert V, Gadd GM, Kothe E. 2020. Organic acids, siderophores, enzymes and mechanical pressure for black slate bioweathering with the basidiomycete Schizophyllum commune. Environ Microbiol 22:1535-1546.
  3. Traxler L, Shrestha J, Richter M, Krause K, Schäfer T, Kothe E. 2022. Metal adaptation and transport in hyphae of the wood-rot fungus Schizophyllum commune. J Hazard Mater 425:127978.
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