Publications by Year: 2021

Dittmer J, Brucker RM. When your host shuts down: larval diapause impacts host-microbiome interaction in Nasonia vitripennis [Internet]. Microbiome 2021;9 Publisher's VersionAbstract


The life cycles of many insect species include an obligatory or facultative diapause stage with arrested development and low metabolic activity as an overwintering strategy. Diapause is characterised by profound physiological changes in endocrine activity, cell proliferation and nutrient metabolism. However, little is known regarding host-microbiome interactions during diapause, despite the importance of bacterial symbionts for host nutrition and development. In this work, we investigated (i) the role of the microbiome for host nutrient allocation during diapause and (ii) the impact of larval diapause on microbiome dynamics in the parasitoid wasp Nasonia vitripennis, a model organism for host-microbiome interactions.


Our results demonstrate that the microbiome is essential for host nutrient allocation during diapause in N. vitripennis, as axenic diapausing larvae had consistently lower glucose and glycerol levels than conventional diapausing larvae, especially when exposed to cold temperature. In turn, microbiome composition was altered in diapausing larvae, potentially due to changes in the surrounding temperature, host nutrient levels and a downregulation of host immune genes. Importantly, prolonged larval diapause had a transstadial effect on the adult microbiome, with unknown consequences for host fitness. Notably, the most dominant microbiome member, Providencia sp., was drastically reduced in adults after more than 4 months of larval diapause, while potential bacterial pathogens increased in abundance.


This work investigates host-microbiome interactions during a crucial developmental stage, which challenges both the insect host and its microbial associates. The impact of diapause on the microbiome is likely due to several factors, including altered host regulatory mechanisms and changes in the host environment.

Grognot M, Taute KM. More than propellers: how flagella shape bacterial motility behaviors [Internet]. Current Opinion in Microbiology 2021;61(June 2021):73-81. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Bacteria use a wide variety of flagellar architectures to navigate their environment. While the iconic run-tumble motility strategy of the peritrichously flagellated Escherichia coli has been well studied, recent work has revealed a variety of new motility behaviors that can be achieved with different flagellar architectures, such as single, bundled, or opposing polar flagella. The recent discovery of various flagellar gymnastics such as flicking and flagellar wrapping is increasingly shifting the view from flagella as passive propellers to versatile appendages that can be used in a wide range of conformations. Here, we review recent observations of how flagella shape motility behaviors and summarize the nascent structure-function map linking flagellation and behavior.