Group Künzler - Molecular defense mechanisms of fungi against bacterial competitors and animal predators
Defense mechanisms against antagonists, including competitors, pathogens, parasites and predators, are a hallmark of all kingdoms of life. One of the most ancient and conserved mechanisms is chemical defense i.e. the production of defense effector molecules (toxins) against antagonists. Typically, the activity of these effectors is antagonist-specific and their production in the defending organism is tightly regulated, both temporally and spatially, in response to internal or external cues.
In contrast to animal and plant defense, the defense mechanisms of fungi against antagonists are poorly characterized. Due to their large surface area, their absorptive nutrition mode and their immobility, fungi are highly susceptible to bacterial competitors and animal predators and, still, their defense mainly relies on chemical defense.
Our research focuses on the molecular characterization of the defense mechanisms of fungi against bacterial competitors and animal predators with special emphasis on the regulation of these mechanisms. The results of our studies will allow to draw conclusions on the evolution of defense mechanisms in multicellular organisms and to identify novel approaches for fighting bacteria and parasites in crop protection and medicine.
- Prof. Andrew de Mello and Dr. Claire Stanley, Department of Chemistry and Applied Biosciences, ETH Zürich
- Drs. Anne Imberty and Annabelle Varrot, CERMAV-CNRS Grenoble, France
- Dr. Mario Schubert, Institute of Molecular Biology, University of Salzburg, Austria
- Prof. Iain Wilson, BOKU, Vienna, Austria
- Prof. Alexander Titz, Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS), Saarbrücken, Germany
- Drs. Jerica Sabotic, Jozef Stefan Institute, Ljubljana, Slovenia
- Prof. Robin A. Ohm, Department of Microbiology, University of Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands
- Prof. Jörn Piel, Institute of Microbiology, ETH Zürich
- Dr. Florian Hennicke, Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung, Germany
- Prof. Dirk Hoffmeister, Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology, Hans Knöll Institute, Jena, Germany
- Prof. Michael F. Freeman, Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biophysics, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota