Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology

Jena, Germany

Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology

Jena, Germany

The Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology is located on Beutenberg Campus in Jena, Germany. It was founded in March 1996 and is one of 80 institutes of the Max Planck Society . Chemical ecology examines the role of chemical signals that mediate the interactions between plants, animals, and their environment, as well as the evolutionary and behavioral consequences of these interactions.About 175 scientists, among them many PhD candidates and students, do their research in five departments and three research groups. Department of Molecular Ecology Department of Bioorganic Chemistry Department of Biochemistry Department of Evolutionary Neuroethology Department of Entomology Max Planck Research Group Insect Symbiosis NMRProteomics Research Group Wikipedia.

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Hansson B.,Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology | Stensmyr M.,Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology
Neuron | Year: 2011

Neuroethology utilizes a wide range of multidisciplinary approaches to decipher neural correlates of natural behaviors associated with an animal's ecological niche. By placing emphasis on comparative analyses of adaptive and evolutionary trends across species, a neuroethological perspective is uniquely suited to uncovering general organizational and biological principles that shape the function and anatomy of the nervous system. In this review, we focus on the application of neuroethological principles in the study of insect olfaction and discuss how ecological environment and other selective pressures influence the development of insect olfactory neurobiology, not only informing our understanding of olfactory evolution but also providing broader insights into sensory processing. © 2011 Elsevier Inc.


Wicher D.,Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology
Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience | Year: 2012

The perception and processing of chemical signals from the environment is essential for any living systems and is most probably the first sense developed in life. This perspective discusses the physical limits of chemoreception and gives an overview on the receptor types developed during evolution to detect chemical signals from the outside world of an organism. It discusses the interaction of chemoreceptors with downstream signaling elements, especially the interaction between electrical and chemical signaling. It is further considered how the primary chemosignal is appropriately amplified. Three examples of chemosensory systems illustrate different strategies of such amplification. © 2012 Wicher.


Knaden M.,Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology | Hansson B.S.,Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology
Current Opinion in Neurobiology | Year: 2014

Why are some odors perceived as pleasant while others are not? We review current research on how pleasant and unpleasant odors, that is, odors with positive or negative valence, are processed in the brain of flies and mice. We conclude that in mice pleasant and unpleasant odors are detected via three olfactory subsystems with only one being fully dedicated to unpleasant odors, while the others detect both good and bad odors. Correspondingly, so far no clear segmentation into regions processing exclusively pleasant or unpleasant odors has been identified in the mouse brain. The situation is different in flies, where most odors are sensed via the antenna. Already at the antennal lobe level, that is, the first processing center for olfactory input, odorants seem to be categorized as pleasant or unpleasant. We furthermore discuss why animals at all should make a decision based on olfaction, and why a straightforward and fast processing of odorant valence might be important for survival and reproduction. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.


Dicke M.,Wageningen University | Baldwin I.T.,Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology
Trends in Plant Science | Year: 2010

Attacks by herbivores elicit changes in the bouquet of volatiles released by plants. These herbivore-induced plant volatiles (HIPVs) have been interpreted as being indirect defenses. However, given that no studies have yet investigated whether HIPVs benefit the fitness of a plant, their defensive function remains to be established. Moreover, herbivores, pathogens, pollinators and competitors also respond to HIPVs and, in addition, neighbouring plants in native populations also emit volatiles that provide a background odour. These considerations enrich the evolutionary context of HIPVs and complicate predictions about their adaptive value. Molecular advances in our understanding of HIPV signaling and biosynthesis is enabling the creation of HIPV-'mute' and possibly HIPV-'deaf' plants. As we discuss here, such plants could be used for unbiased examination of the fitness value of HIPV emissions under natural conditions. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Wu J.,Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology | Baldwin I.T.,Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology
Annual Review of Genetics | Year: 2010

Plants have evolved sophisticated systems to cope with herbivore challenges. When plants perceive herbivore-derived physical and chemical cues, such as elicitors in insects' oral secretions and compounds in oviposition fluids, plants dramatically reshape their transcriptomes, proteomes, and metabolomes. All these herbivory-induced changes are mediated by elaborate signaling networks, which include receptors sensors, Ca2 influxes, kinase cascades, reactive oxygen species, and phytohormone signaling pathways. Furthermore, herbivory induces defense responses not only in the wounded regions but also in undamaged regions in the attacked leaves and in distal intact (systemic) leaves. Here, we review recent progress in understanding plant perception of herbivory and oviposition, and the herbivory-induced early signaling events and their biological functions. We consider the intraspecific phenotypic diversity of plant responses to herbivory and discuss the underlying genetic variation. We also discuss new tools and technical challenges in studying plant-herbivore interactions. © 2010 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved.


Linz J.,Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology
Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society | Year: 2013

Finding appropriate feeding and breeding sites is crucial for all insects. To fulfil this vital task, many insects rely on their sense of smell. Alterations in the habitat--or in lifestyle--should accordingly also be reflected in the olfactory system. Solid functional evidence for direct adaptations in the olfactory system is however scarce. We have, therefore, examined the sense of smell of Drosophila erecta, a close relative of Drosophila melanogaster and specialist on screw pine fruits (Pandanus spp.). In comparison with three sympatric sibling species, D. erecta shows specific alterations in its olfactory system towards detection and processing of a characteristic Pandanus volatile (3-methyl-2-butenyl acetate, 3M2BA). We show that D. erecta is more sensitive towards this substance, and that the increased sensitivity derives from a numerical increase of one olfactory sensory neuron (OSN) class. We also show that axons from these OSNs form a complex of enlarged glomeruli in the antennal lobe, the first olfactory brain centre, of D. erecta. Finally, we show that 3M2BA induces oviposition in D. erecta, but not in D. melanogaster. The presumed adaptations observed here follow to a remarkable degree those found in Drosophila sechellia, a specialist upon noni fruit, and suggest a general principle for how specialization affects the sense of smell.


Heckel D.G.,Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology
Science | Year: 2012

Combating insecticide resistance is a continual challenge for the preservation of both traditional and transgenic crops.


Svatos A.,Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology
Analytical Chemistry | Year: 2011

Modern mass spectrometry is ready to explore individual cell metabolomes, and 4 massive advances in medicinal and biological applications may be expected in a near future. © 2011 American Chemical Society.


Svatos A.,Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology
Trends in Biotechnology | Year: 2010

Small molecules are defined as low molecular weight organic compounds (typically <1000. Da), which could be either natural or artificial. Because established imaging methods are not able to selectively detect the positions, concentrations and structures of small molecules in biological samples, new methods have been developed. This review summarizes recent technological developments in one such method, mass spectrometric imaging (MSI). Lipids, hydrocarbons, sugars, phenolics, alkaloids, antibiotics, pharmaceutical and agrochemical compounds, bacterial, plant, and insect-defensive and semiochemical compounds are covered. Additionally, the latest MSI methods as well as sample preparation, imaging software, and medical and biological applications will be discussed. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.


Mithofer A.,Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology | Boland W.,Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology
Annual Review of Plant Biology | Year: 2012

Plants have evolved a plethora of different chemical defenses covering nearly all classes of (secondary) metabolites that represent a major barrier to herbivory: Some are constitutive; others are induced after attack. Many compounds act directly on the herbivore, whereas others act indirectly via the attraction of organisms from other trophic levels that, in turn, protect the plant. An enormous diversity of plant (bio)chemicals are toxic, repellent, or antinutritive for herbivores of all types. Examples include cyanogenic glycosides, glucosinolates, alkaloids, and terpenoids; others are macromolecules and comprise latex or proteinase inhibitors. Their modes of action include membrane disruption, inhibition of nutrient and ion transport, inhibition of signal transduction processes, inhibition of metabolism, or disruption of the hormonal control of physiological processes. Recognizing the herbivore challenge and precise timing of plant activities as well as the adaptive modulation of the plants' metabolism is important so that metabolites and energy may be efficiently allocated to defensive activities. © 2012 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved.

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