Surfing the surface: visualization of trisporoid, pheromone and hydrophin molecules on basidiomycete hyphae

Supervisors: Prof. Erika Kothe, Microbiology, Friedrich Schiller University Jena; Prof. Wilhelm Boland, Department of Bioorganic Chemistry, MPI-CE; and Dr. Aleš Svatoš, Research Group Mass Spectrometry/Proteomics, MPI-CE

The signaling via soluble molecules in a 3D distribution pattern is the basis of many processes and signal transduction pathways within fungal cells. However, there is a 2D distribution potentially associated with hydrophobic or amphipathic molecules. Here, the distribution of such molecules should be analyzed on the surface of hyphal cell walls or membranes of protoplasts using the two model fungi Schizophyllum commune and Tricholoma vaccinum . Trisporoids are produced as morphogens during sexual reproduction in zygomycetes. Using MALDI-TOF, a visualization on these hyphae should be included. An effect of trisporoids could be shown on mycorrhizal basidiomycetes and the formation of ectomycorrhiza. However, how the molecules are reaching the fungal cell is not known. Here, a mechanism of surfing on the (hydrophobic) cell wall can be assumed to reach the basidiomycete cells. With amphipathic, lipopeptide pheromones, sexual reproduction in basidiomycetes is governed. Again, distribution outside the fungus should be monitored using producer and receiver cells, here with protoplasts as membrane surfing is expected. Lastly, hydrophobins are known to be secreted as monomers which are soluble which then assemble on the hyphal wall. Using diverse mass spectroscopy imaging methods working under ambient conditions, the molecules on the surfaces will be visualized, and potentially new molecules structurally characterized. This will allow us to understand the spatially different responses of fungi to environmental organo-chemical or peptide signals. We are looking for a highly motivated PhD student, ideally with a background in microbiology.

!!Application deadline is September 11, 2015!!

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In a joint initiative, the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, the Friedrich Schiller University, Jena, the Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology and the Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research are offering an international PhD program. This International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS) gives PhD students the possibility to prepare...

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