Genomic and Applied Microbiology

Integrative analysis of genome, transcriptome and epigenome data from coevolved Bacillus thuringiensis strains

This project is funded in the context of the DFG Priority Programme SPP 1399: Host-Parasite Coevolution – rapid reciprocal adaptation and its genetic basis.

Cluster: Experimental evolution and natural variation of Bacillus-invertebrate interactions

In this project the reciprocal genomic adaptations of parasites and hosts during evolutionary processes and their impact on gene activity will be investigated. Therefore genome-, transcriptome- and epigenome data will be produced by high throughput sequencing methods. First, a quantification, characterization and localization of the mutation events during three host-parasite coevolution experiments with Bacillus thuringiensis MBYT18247 and 407 will be performed. The data will be generated by a) high coverage genome sequencing for the determination of sequence variation and b) single molecule sequencing for the determination of the methylation status of host and parasite genomes from the original and the evolved material.
To identify mutations relevant for strain adaptation a comparative RNA-seq based transcription analysis of parasite/host samples from different time points of the evolution experiment will be performed. The generated data will be analyzed in an “in depth” analysis with bioinformatics methods and used to develop a dynamic structural model of the parasite genome. A functional analysis of mutated genes with varied activity and phenotype might be done by the target reconstruction of the mutants on wild type strains followed by infection experiments. The functional analysis represents the final experimental work. The suggested experiments promise insights into the evolutionary mechanisms of the species Bacillus thuringiensis which might, due to the high similarity of genome structures, be generalized to the whole genus Bacillus.


[1] Sheppard AE, Poehlein A, Rosenstiel P, Liesegang H, Schulenburg H (2013) Complete genome sequence of Bacillus thuringiensis strain 407 Cry-. Genome Announcements 1(1):e00158-12 (abstract).