Dr. Mario Sandoval-Calderón
Institute of Organismic and Molecular Evolution
55128 Mainz, Germany
phone: +49 - (0) 6131 - 39 25200
fax: +49 - (0) 6131 - 39 23731
I am interested in the evolution of microbial metabolism and in chemical communication in bacteria.
My main project is about the defensive symbiosis between beewolves and actinomycetes. Beewolves are solitary wasps from the tribe Philanthini that hunt bees to feed their larvae. A species of bacteria named ‘Streptomyces philanthi’ inhabits glands in the antennae from female beewolves and produces a cocktail of antibiotics that protect beewolf cocoons from fungal infections. While there is evidence of a tight association between these symbionts and their hosts, strains of ‘S. philanthi’ isolated from different beewolf species present many variations in their genome content and their metabolic capabilities, from strains with highly eroded genomes and strict nutritional dependency, to isolates with larger genomes and more metabolic versatility. My aim is to study the evolution of metabolic pathways through different stages during the establishment of a symbiotic relationship, and to use bioinformatic and experimental approaches to analyze the key metabolic elements that determine symbiosis effectivity and specificity.
FISH of ‘Streptomyces philanthi’ bv. triangulum