Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology

www.mpi-marburg.mpg.de/
Marburg, Germany

The Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology is a research institute for terrestrial microbiology in Marburg, Germany. It was founded in 1991 by Rudolf K. Thauer and is one of 80 institutes in the Max Planck Society . Its sister institute is the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, which was founded a year later in 1992 in Bremen. Wikipedia.

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Jarrell K.F.,Queen's University | Albers S.-V.,Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology
Trends in Microbiology | Year: 2012

Motility structures, called flagella, have been described in all three domains of life: Bacteria, Archaea and Eukarya. These structures are well studied in both Bacteria and Eukarya. However, already in eukaryotes there exists some confusion as to whether these structures should actually be called cilia. With increased studies conducted on organisms of the third domain of life, the Archaea, it has become clear that the archaeal flagellum only functionally appears similar to the bacterial flagellum, whereas it structurally resembles a bacterial type IV pilus. To resolve confusion due to unclear nomenclature, we propose renaming the archaeal flagellum as the 'archaellum'. This will make clear that the archaellum and the bacterial flagellum are two distinct structures that happen to both be used to enable microorganisms to swim. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.


Okmen B.,Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology | Doehlemann G.,Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology
Current Opinion in Plant Biology | Year: 2014

Filamentous plant pathogens that establish biotrophic interactions need to avoid plant immune responses. Recent findings from different pathosystems suggest that sufficient suppression of host immunity is based on the modulation of a rather limited number of host targets. Microbial strategies to target host physiology dependent on the duration of biotrophy, the style of host tissue colonization and the degree of interference with plant development. In this article, we present current concepts in biotrophic virulence strategies and discuss mechanisms of pathogen adaptation and effector specialization. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.


Thanbichler M.,Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology
Cold Spring Harbor perspectives in biology | Year: 2010

Bacterial cells have evolved a variety of regulatory circuits that tightly synchronize their chromosome replication and cell division cycles, thereby ensuring faithful transmission of genetic information to their offspring. Complex multicomponent signaling cascades are used to monitor the progress of cytokinesis and couple replication initiation to the separation of the two daughter cells. Moreover, the cell-division apparatus actively participates in chromosome partitioning and, particularly, in the resolution of topological problems that impede the segregation process, thus coordinating chromosome dynamics with cell constriction. Finally, bacteria have developed mechanisms that harness the cell-cycle-dependent positioning of individual chromosomal loci or the nucleoid to define the cell-division site and control the timing of divisome assembly. Each of these systems manages to integrate a complex set of spatial and temporal cues to regulate and execute critical steps in the bacterial cell cycle.


Thauer R.K.,Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology
Angewandte Chemie - International Edition | Year: 2010

More than one way to skin a cat: Some strictly anaerobic bacteria grow in the presence of methane and nitrite, forming CO 2 and N 2. Recently published experimental evidence suggests the involvement of a NO dismutase and of a particulate methane monooxygenase (pMMO) in the process. Both enzymes are lacking in microorganisms that catalyze anaerobic methane oxidation with sulfate. There are thus at least two pathways that enable anaerobes to use methane as fuel. Chemical Equation presented © 2010 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.


Thauer R.K.,Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology
Annual Review of Microbiology | Year: 2015

Early parental influence led me first to medical school, but after developing a passion for biochemistry and sensing the need for a deeper foundation, I changed to chemistry. During breaks between semesters, I worked in various biochemistry labs to acquire a feeling for the different areas of investigation. The scientific puzzle that fascinated me most was the metabolism of the anaerobic bacterium Clostridium kluyveri, which I took on in 1965 in Karl Decker's lab in Freiburg, Germany. I quickly realized that little was known about the biochemistry of strict anaerobes such as clostridia, methanogens, acetogens, and sulfate-reducing bacteria and that these were ideal model organisms to study fundamental questions of energy conservation, CO2 fixation, and the evolution of metabolic pathways. My passion for anaerobes was born then and is unabated even after 50 years of study. © Copyright ©2015 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved.


Brune A.,Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology | Dietrich C.,Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology
Annual Review of Microbiology | Year: 2015

Termite guts harbor a dense and diverse microbiota that is essential for symbiotic digestion. The major players in lower termites are unique lineages of cellulolytic flagellates, whereas higher termites harbor only bacteria and archaea. The functions of the mostly uncultivated lineages and their distribution in different diet groups are slowly emerging. Patterns in community structure match changes in the biology of different host groups and reflect the availability of microbial habitats provided by flagellates, wood fibers, and the increasing differentiation of the intestinal tract, which also creates new niches for microbial symbionts. Whereas the intestinal communities in the closely related cockroaches seem to be shaped primarily by the selective forces of microhabitat and functional niche, the social behavior of termites reduces the stochastic element of community assembly, which facilitates coevolution and may ultimately result in cospeciation. © Copyright ©2015 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved.


Stukenbrock E.H.,Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology
New Phytologist | Year: 2013

Speciation of fungal plant pathogens has been associated with host jumps, host domestication, clonal divergence, and hybridization. Although we have substantial insight into the speciation histories of several important plant pathogens, we still know very little about the underlying genetics of reproductive isolation. Studies in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Neurospora crassa, and nonfungal model systems illustrate that reproductive barriers can evolve by different mechanisms, including genetic incompatibilities between neutral and adaptive substitutions, reinforcement selection, and chromosomal rearrangements. Advances in genome sequencing and sequence analyses provide a new framework to identify those traits that have driven the divergence of populations or caused reproductive isolation between species of fungal plant pathogens. These traits can be recognized based on signatures of strong divergent selection between species or through the association of allelic combination conferring hybrid inferiority. Comparative genome analyses also provide information about the contribution of genome rearrangements to speciation. This is particularly relevant for species of fungal pathogens with extreme levels of genomic rearrangements and within-species genome plasticity. © 2013 The Author © 2013 New Phytologist Trust.


Thauer R.K.,Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology
Current Opinion in Microbiology | Year: 2011

Anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM) with sulfate is apparently catalyzed by an association of methanotrophic archaea (ANME) and sulfate-reducing bacteria. In many habitats, the free energy change (ΔG) available through this process is only -20kJ/mol and therefore AOM with sulfate reduction generating life-supporting ATP is predicted to operate near thermodynamic equilibrium (ΔG=0kJ/mol). On the basis of meta-genome sequencing and enzyme studies, it has been proposed that AOM in ANME is catalyzed by the same enzymes that catalyze CO2 reduction to CH4 in methanogenic archaea. Here, this proposal is reviewed and evaluated in terms of the process thermodynamics, kinetics, and enzyme reversibilities. Currently, there is no evidence for the presence of the gene that encodes methylene-tetrahydromethanopterin reductase in ANME, one of the central enzymes in the CO2 to CH4 pathway. However, all of the remaining enzymes do appear to be present and, with the exception of a coenzyme M-S-S-coenzyme B heterodisulfide reductase, all of these enzymes have been confirmed to catalyze reversible reactions. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.


Randau L.,Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology
Genome Biology | Year: 2012

Background: The minimal genome of the tiny, hyperthermophilic archaeon Nanoarchaeum equitans contains several fragmented genes and revealed unusual RNA processing pathways. These include the maturation of tRNA molecules via the trans-splicing of tRNA halves and genomic rearrangements to compensate for the absence of RNase P.Results: Here, the RNA processing events in the N. equitans cell are analyzed using RNA-Seq deep sequencing methodology. All tRNA half precursor and tRNA termini were determined and support the tRNA trans-splicing model. The processing of CRISPR RNAs from two CRISPR clusters was verified. Twenty-seven C/D box small RNAs (sRNAs) and a H/ACA box sRNA were identified. The C/D box sRNAs were found to flank split genes, to form dicistronic tRNA-sRNA precursors and to be encoded within the tRNAMet intron.Conclusions: The presented data provide an overview of the production and usage of small RNAs in a cell that has to survive with a highly reduced genome. N. equitans lost many essential metabolic pathways but maintains highly active CRISPR/Cas and rRNA modification systems that appear to play an important role in genome fragmentation. © 2012 Randau; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


The hydrogenotrophic methanogens Methanothermobacter marburgensis and Methanothermobacter thermautotrophicus can easily be mass cultured. They have therefore been used almost exclusively to study the biochemistry of methanogenesis from H and CO, and the genomes of these two model organisms have been sequenced. The close relationship of the two organisms is reflected in their genomic architecture and coding potential. Within the 1,607 protein coding sequences (CDS) in common, we identified approximately 200 CDS required for the synthesis of the enzymes, coenzymes, and prosthetic groups involved in CO reduction to methane and in coupling this process with the phosphorylation of ADP. Approximately 20 additional genes, such as those for the biosynthesis of F(430) and methanofuran and for the posttranslational modifications of the two methyl-coenzyme M reductases, remain to be identified.

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