進化・細胞・共生の生物学ユニット (フィリップ・フスニック)

Three connecting themes that run through all aspects of our research are evolution, cell biology, and symbiosis. We are particularly fascinated by the origin and evolution of the eukaryotic cell and its endosymbiotic organelles, mitochondria and plastids, but we also focus on numerous other (more recent) symbiotic interactions among bacteria, archaea, single-celled eukaryotes (protists), plants, and animals. We try to understand how these symbioses originate, how they are maintained at the cellular level for over hundreds of millions of years, and how they eventually become either organelles or extinct. We use a variety of interdisciplinary approaches to study these complex symbiotic systems in the field, in the lab, and with computational methods. Our ultimate goal is to bridge the gap between multiple fields that rarely interact with each other and to fully understand how an intracellular organism becomes so highly incorporated into its host cell that it becomes a part of the cell, an organelle.

There are three research topics we are particularly interested in:

  1. The origin of mitochondria and the eukaryotic cell
  2. Endosymbiotic bacteria of protists and insects
  3. Marine microbiology and symbioses

 

Here are some of the main methods we use in the lab:

  • Light, epifluorescence, and confocal microscopy
  • Electron microscopy (TEM, SEM, FIB-SEM, SBF-SEM)
  • Cryosectioning, paraffin embedding/sectioning, and histology
  • Fluorescence in-situ hybridization (FISH; with both RNA and DNA probes)
  • Immunohistochemistry and immunogold labeling
  • Fluorescence-Activated Cell Sorting (FACS) of bacteria and microbial eukaryotes
  • Live-cell staining and imaging of diverse cell compartments in microbial eukaryotes
  • X-ray microtomography (micro-CT)
  • Single-cell genomics and transcriptomics of microbial eukaryotes
  • Genome and transcriptome sequencing (Illumina, Oxford Nanopore, and PacBio)
  • Differential gene expression RNA-Seq analyses for host-symbiont systems
  • Genome-resolved metagenomics and metatranscriptomics
  • Amplicon sequencing with 16S rRNA, 18S rRNA, and ITS markers
  • Metabolomics and proteomics of host-symbiont systems
  • Metabolic measurements of single cells with microsensors
  • Low-oxygen experiments in an anaerobic chamber
  • Programming software and evolutionary simulations
  • Experimental evolution of microbial symbioses
  • Environmental DNA (eDNA) sampling and analysis
  • Marine sediment biogeochemistry
  • Insect microinjections (symbionts and RNAi)
  • Miscellaneous molecular biology methods (PCR, RT-PCR, RNAi, electrophoresis, etc.)
  • Phylogenomics and population genomics
  • Manipulative experiments (both indoors and outdoors) with corals and microbial eukaryotes
  • Culturing and identification of diverse insects, corals, plants, and microorganisms
  • Marine and terrestrial fieldwork