Whitaker 6 3-7-11 - Why is microbial biodiversity so high?...

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Why is microbial biodiversity so high? Many small niches on a microscale gradients of nutrients patchy distribution in structured environments (soil) different life strategies Interactions Competition - antagonistic interactions Cooperation - mutualistic interactions
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pathogens There is a broad spectrum of microbial interactions lead to diversity intracellular symbionts Microbial Communities
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Antagonism - sources of natural products for new antibiotics Microbes produce toxins (antibiotics) Interfere with signaling Slow the growth of competitors Streptomyces coelicolor Actinomycetes produce many secondary compounds and antibiotics. Streptomyces alone over 50 antibiotics
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Streptomyces coelicolor and small molecule production On the fourth ring in red blocks show secondary metabolites primarily on the more variable arm region of the chromosome (light blue) Streptomyces coelicolor other bacteria other bacteria growth inhibition by Streptomyces coelicolor
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The more you look the more complex interactions you find Virophage mama virus infecting mimivirus La Scola, B., Desnues, C., Pagnier, I., Robert, C., Barrassi, L., Fournous, G., et al. (2008). The virophage as a unique parasite of the giant mimivirus. Nature 455: 100-104. Acanthamoeba
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Wasp parasite on aphid Blue: Buchnera obligate aphid symbiont Aphid is resistant to the wasp parasite only when it hosts Hamiltonella that are infected with bacteriophage Oliver, K. M., Degnan, P. H., Hunter, M. S. and Moran, N. A. (2009). Bacteriophages Encode Factors Required for Protection in a Symbiotic Mutualism. Science 325: 992-994. Red: Hamiltonella defensa facultative symbiont (needs amino acids from Buchnera) Aphid symbionts Bacteriophage infects Hamiltonella
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Human microbiome Every individual houses 100 trillion microbial cells. Meaning our bodies have 100 times more microbial cells than human cells. 3.3 million microbial genes - 150 times more than our own gene compliment. Each individual’s gut alone has on average 160 microbial species.
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human microbiome project What types of microbes live with us? What do these microbes do for us? How are our microbial communities assembled? Where do they come from?
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Whitaker 6 3-7-11 - Why is microbial biodiversity so high?...

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