In nature, microorganisms do not live on their own, but cooperate and compete constantly with other microorganisms and more complex organisms such as humans and plants. They form communities in which they interact and communicate intensively with each other through the exchange of nutrients and information. Such microbial networks are controlled at regulatory, metabolic, and structural levels. The spatial organization of intracellular interactions (orange) influences intercellular interactions (red) in microbial communities that span species boundaries. Due to intricate linkages between regulatory and metabolic networks, dynamic changes in cytoplasmic and endosymbiotic metabolism dictate changes in the metabolism of free-living microbial partners.
Microbial networking takes place at various scales ranging from intracellular endosymbionts to intercellular cross-kingdom communities. Level 1 indicates the interaction of organelles of endosymbiotic origin with other cellular entities such as microtubules, endosomes and peroxisomes. Level 2 illustrates the interaction of endosymbionts within their host cell. At level 3 the interaction between microorganisms of the same kind is in focus. At level 4, prokaryotic and eukaryotic microorganisms interact and at the final level 5, higher-order communities are formed. Importantly, organelle interactions at level 1 determine the performance of eukaryotic partners at level 5.
MibiNet’s vision is to understand microbial networking in its full complexity to explain how organelles evolve and how microbiome functions emerge. Therefore, we address the establishment, maintenance and evolution of microbial networking from intracellular interactions of organelles or endosymbionts and their host cell to intercellular interactions in cross-kingdom communities. We propose that the physiological and metabolic state of each member determines the dynamic and spatial organisation of microbial networking. To address this hypothesis, we will uncover central hubs of the underlying networks to identify which metabolic, regulatory and physical interactions are predominant at different networking scales.
CRC MibiNet consists of two Research Areas (A and B) covering different scales of microbial networking and enabling platforms (Z) that are central to our overarching strategy. In Research area A, we mainly focus on intracellular networking whereas Research area B addresses more complex, higher-order intercellular processes.
- A01 - A05 Endosymbiont/Mitochondria
- A07 Chloroplast
- A08 - A09 Heterotrophic bacteria; Race for carbon & iron
- B01 Race for iron
- B02 Natural versus synthetic lichens
- B03 Race for carbon
- B04 Natural versus synthetic phycosphere
- Z01 Biosensors
- Z02 Metabolomics