Functional analysis of evolutionary and ecological interactions between saprophage insects and moulds

Ulrike Fohgrub, Monika Trienens, Marko Rohlfs, Frank Kempken

Author address: 

Botanisches Institut und Botanischer Garten, Christian Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Kiel, Germany


Filamentous fungi and saprophage insects’ are suspected to be competitors on decaying organic matter. Both organisms have equal requirements considering habitat and nutrition. Insect larvae negatively influence mould development (1), but filamentous fungi can be an important cause of mortality of insect larvae (2). These competitions in insect-mould interactions have largely been ignored. First investigations suggest a role of genes for fungal secondary metabolism (3). Using a combination of experimental ecology and functional genomic techniques the function of moulds secondary metabolites (e.g. Mycotoxine) as a chemical defence in insects-moulds-interactions as well as the influence of these competitors at trophic interaction between insects ought to be investigated. For our research the vinegar fly Drosophila melanogaster and its natural mould antagonist Aspergillus were used as a form of ecology model system. Microarrays of secondary metabolism genes of Aspergillus species are being used to identify fungal target genes up- or downregulated when interacting on festered matter with the antagonistic Drosophila larvae. Specific down- or upregulation of these target genes will be performed to analyse their importance for competitions in insect-mould interactions. The consequence on evolutionary fitness of the fungi and insects will be analysed

abstract No: 


Full conference title: 

    • ECFG 9th (2008)