I. Living together: The symbiosis of host-microbial interactions
II. The Hawaiian bobtail squid - Vibrio Fischeri association
Part II: The Hawaiian bobtail squid - Vibrio Fischeri association
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Advances in rRNA sequencing and other techniques have allowed scientists to characterize novel symbiotic partnerships. In her first lecture, Dr. Margaret McFall-Ngai provides an overview of the three main types of symbiosis: mutualism (both partners benefit), commensalism (only one partner benefits), and parasitism (one partner benefits, but the other partner is harmed). McFall-Ngai’s research is currently focused on understanding the establishment and maintenance of symbiotic relationships, and the molecular effects that these relationships have on development, health, and disease.
In her second talk, McFall-Ngai tells the story of a symbiosis between the Hawaiian bobtail squid and Vibrio fischeri (V. fischeri), a type of luminescent bacteria that enables the squid to hunt at night. McFall-Ngai and collaborators have identified the molecular mechanism by which nascent Hawaiian bobtail squid select V. fischeri from the thousands of other bacteria in their habitat. V. fischeri induces developmental changes in the squid that drive daily rhythms of gene expression, which are necessary to control bacterial growth, a crucial cycle in this symbiotic partnership.
Dr. Margaret McFall-Ngai is a Professor and Director of the Pacific Biosciences Research Center at the University of Hawaii Manao. Her laboratory studies the symbiotic relationship between hosts and microorganisms. She uses the Hawaiian bobtail squid as a model organism and studies its symbiotic relationship with the bacteria Vibrio fischeri. McFall-Ngai uses this binary symbiosis to establish a general framework on how symbiosis works. In recognition of her scientific contributions, McFall-Ngai was selected as a member of the American Academy of Microbiology, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Sciences. Learn more about Dr. McFall-Ngai’s research at her lab website.
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The importance of microbes in animal biology/symbiosis
McFall-Ngai, MJ (co-author with other members of the Committee) (2009) A New Biology for the 21st Century. National Research Council, National Academies Press, Washington, 98 pp.
McFall-Ngai MJ et al. (2013) Animals in a bacterial world: A new imperative for the life sciences. PNAS 110:3229-3236
Alivisatos, AP, et al. (2015) Harnessing the Earth’s microbiomes: A call for a Unified Microbiome Initiative. Science 350:507-8
Dubilier, N, et. al. (2015) Microbiology: Create a global microbiome effort Nature 526:631-34
McFall-Ngai, MJ (2007) Adaptive immunity: care for the community. Nature 445:153
The squid-vibrio model symbiosis
McFall-Ngai, MJ and EG Ruby (1991) Symbiont recognition and subsequent morphogenesis as early events in an animal-bacterial mutualism. Science 254:1491-4
Koropatnick, TA, et. al. (2004) Microbial factor-mediated development in host-bacterial mutualism. Science 306:1186-8
Chun, C, et. al. (2008) Effects of colonization, luminescence and autoinducer on global host transcription in the developing squid-vibrio symbiosis. PNAS 105:11323-28
Wier, AM, et.al. (2010) Transcriptional patterns in both host and bacterium underlie a daily rhythm of ultrastructural and metabolic change in a beneficial symbiosis. PNAS 107:2259-64
Crookes, WJ, et.al. (2004) Reflectins: The unusual proteins of squid reflective tissues. Science 303:235-8
Tong, D, et. al. (2009) Evidence for light perception in a bioluminescent organ. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 106:9836-41