Genetics, Epigenetics & Gene Regulation | Neuroscience | Populations, Adaptations & Evolution
Origin and Diversification of Hormone Systems and Stem Cells
We are interested in the origin and evolution of hormone systems and stem cell mechanisms. Central to our work is the exploration of invertebrate model species in key phyla. One of these is the marine annelid worm Platynereis dumerilii. Our past work has shown that this worm exhibits a unique combination of ancestral-type genomic characteristics not found in insect and nematode model species. Moreover, we have identified numerous components of ancestral-type hormone...more
We are interested in the origin and evolution of hormone systems and stem cell mechanisms. Central to our work is the exploration of invertebrate model species in key phyla. One of these is the marine annelid worm Platynereis dumerilii. Our past work has shown that this worm exhibits a unique combination of ancestral-type genomic characteristics not found in insect and nematode model species. Moreover, we have identified numerous components of ancestral-type hormone pathways in Platynereis. Therefore, Platynereis is highly interesting for comparison with other animal hormone systems -- including the ones of vertebrates -- and for our understanding of marine life.
The hormonal control of reproduction and regeneration
What could be the function of ancestral-type hormones in Platynereis? One of the systems that we dissect is the hormonal machinery orchestrating reproduction and regeneration. Platynereis is an excellent object for this analysis, as it has been a central model for the link between chronobiology and reproduction. Our bioinformatic analyses, as well as transcriptomic, proteomic and targeted biochemical analyses, have revealed a spectrum of hormones present in Platynereis. Thanks to the establishment of new molecular tools, we are now able to systematically assess the impact of these candidates on the development and maturation of the animals. These experiments are supported by an ERC starting grant (HOR.MOON), as well as a University of Vienna Research Platform ("Rhythms of Life") that allows us to interact with colleagues from the Analytical Chemistry and Neurobiology. Together, we have recently gained critical insight into one of the enigmatic hormones involved in the synchronized reproduction of the animal.
Exploring a new marine model system
Over the past years, Platynereis has emerged as a very promising “next-generation” model system. We have pioneered transgenic technology in Platynereis that allows us to mark and interrogate cell types with unprecedented precision. Likewise, we have helped to establish targeted mutagenesis in the worm, allowing us to test if a given gene is required for regeneration or reproductive timing. Finally, we make use of the remarkable transparency of Platynereis to observe neurons and stem cells in the living animal. These approaches provide entry points into the fascinating biology of a new marine model species. Besides the action of hormones, we are actively investigating the evolution of gene-regulatory logic and the orchestration of cellular processes involved in the sculpting of bristles. Our vision is to firmly establish Platynereis as a reference species for marine biology.
Sven Schenk, Christian Krauditsch, Peter Frühauf, Christopher Gerner, Florian Raible (2016). Discovery of methylfarnesoate as the
annelid brain hormone reveals an ancient
role of sesquiterpenoids in reproduction eLife:e17126. PMID: 27894418
Bannister, Stephanie; Antonova, Olga; Polo, Alessandrea; Lohs, Claudia; Hallay, Natalia; Valinciute, Agne; Raible, Florian; Tessmar-Raible, Kristin (2014). TALENs Mediate Efficient and Heritable Mutation of Endogenous Genes in the Marine Annelid Platynereis dumerilii. GENETICS. PMID: 24653002
Backfisch, Benjamin; Veedin Rajan, Vinoth Babu; Fischer, Ruth M; Lohs, Claudia; Arboleda, Enrique; Tessmar-Raible, Kristin; Raible, Florian (2013). Stable transgenesis in the marine annelid Platynereis dumerilii sheds new light on photoreceptor evolution. P NATL ACAD SCI USA;110(1):193-8. PMID: 23284166
ERC Starting Grant 2010
Florian Raible is awardee of a "Starting Independent Researcher Grant" from the European Research Council ERC.
Austrian Academy Innovation Funds Project on Bio3DPrint
The Austrian Academy of Sciences has awarded the lab funds to drive pioneer research at the interface of cell biology and material sciences to explore the sculpting of nanostructures during bristle development.