Steffen Binke -
Aquatic Symbiosis Genomics

Genomic signatures behind the origin of multiple cephalopod symbiotic organs

Our goal is to understand the evolution of symbiotic associations using phylogenetically and ecologically informed sampling of cephalopod-bacteria symbioses

Project Lead/s

Oleg Simakov, University of Vienna

Project Summary

The Hawaiian bobtail squid, Euprymna scolopes, maintains two distinct symbiotic associations in different organs – the famous light organ (LO, bacterial monoculture) and the accessory nidamental gland (ANG, bacterial consortium). Although genomic information is now available for E. scolopes and its symbionts, the lack of genomic sampling for closely related cephalopod species is the main limiting factor in understanding the observed emergence and loss of symbioses in this group.

Our hub aims to sequence the genomes of co-occurring cephalopod species and their symbionts in three geographical areas which exhibit both presence and absence of symbiotic organs. This will allow us to identify shared and convergently evolving genomic regions, quantifying the propensity of host and symbiont genomes to evolve and maintain symbiotic relationships across ecologically distinct conditions. Our hub – Margaret McFall-Ngai (U. Hawaii, USA), Spencer Nyholm (U. Connecticut, USA), Michele Nishiguchi (UC Merced, USA), Elizabeth Heath-Heckman (Michigan State University, USA), Gustavo Sanchez (Hiroshima University, Japan), Raphael Lami (Sorbonne University and Marine station of Banyuls, France), Oleg Simakov (U Vienna, Austria) – is an international team with a wide range of expertise in genomics, systematics, taxonomy, and microbiology of squid-bacteria symbiosis.