Events at the MPIAB

Host: Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior

The neurobiology of zombie flies: mechanisms of parasite host-manipulation

For at least two centuries, scientists have been enthralled by the “zombie” behaviors induced by mind-controlling parasites. Despite this interest, the mechanistic bases of these uncanny processes have remained mostly a mystery. We leveraged the Entomophthora muscae-Drosophila melanogaster “zombie fly” system to reveal the molecular and cellular underpinnings of summit disease, a manipulated behavior evoked by many fungal parasites. Using high-throughput behavior assays to measure summiting, we discovered that summiting behavior is characterized by a burst of locomotion and requires the host circadian and neurosecretory systems, specifically DN1p circadian neurons, pars intercerebralis to corpora allata projecting (PI-CA) neurons and corpora allata (CA), the sole site of juvenile hormone (JH) synthesis and release. The blood-brain barrier of flies late in their infection was significantly permeabilized, suggesting that factors in the hemolymph may have greater access to the central nervous system during summiting. Metabolomic analysis of hemolymph from summiting flies revealed differential abundance of several compounds compared to non-summiting flies. Transfusing the hemolymph of summiting flies into non-summiting recipients induced a burst of locomotion, demonstrating that factor(s) in the hemolymph likely cause summiting behavior. Altogether, our work reveals a neuro-mechanistic model for summiting wherein fungal cells perturb the fly’s hemolymph, activating the neurohormonal pathway linking clock neurons to juvenile hormone production in the CA, ultimately inducing locomotor activity in their host. [more]

Energy saving strategies in the common noctule bat, Nyctalus noctula

Rado Seminar by Lara Keicher
In my PhD I investigate energy management strategies of male and female noctule bats across different reproductive stages. Using heart rate telemetry and a combination of laboratory experiments and field observations, I investigated torpor use strategies in captive female bats (Chapter 1) and compared torpor use behavior in captive and free-ranging male bats (Chapter 2). I will also present my plans and preliminary results from Chapter 3, in which I use high resolution heart rate data to investigate how free-ranging male bats budget their energy in different reproductive stages. [more]

Institute Seminar by Franjo Weissing

Institute Seminar by Gerit Linneweber

SARS-CoV-2 in Animals: What goes around …comes around

Institute Seminar by Jürgen Richt
In this presentation, our work assessing the susceptibility of different animal species such as cats, pigs, sheep, cattle and white-tailed deer to experimental SARS-CoV-2 infection will be summarized, and detailed descriptions of the clinical disease and transmissibility in these animal models will be provided. The results of these studies are critical: (i) for our understanding of the clinical course of SARS-CoV-2 in naturally and experimentally susceptible host species; (ii) for the development of preclinical COVID-19 animal models; and (iii) for risk assessment of SARS-CoV-2 infections in domestic and wild animals and the possible transmission to other animals and humans. In summary, a comprehensive understanding of animal susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 is crucial to inform public health and agricultural systems, and to guide environmental policies. Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the cause of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and responsible for the current pandemic. The susceptibility of domestic and wild animal species to infection is a critical facet of the SARS-CoV-2 ecology, since reverse zoonotic spillover events resulting in SARS-CoV-2 outbreaks in animal populations could result in the establishment of new virus reservoirs. Adaptative virus mutations in new animal species could also complicate ongoing mitigation strategies to combat SARS-CoV-2. In addition, animal species susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection are essential as preclinical models for the development and efficacy testing of effective vaccines and therapeutics. [more]

Institute Seminar by Jacob Höglund

Rado Seminar by Christin Albrecht & Fabienne Raabe

Rado Seminar by Christin Albrecht & Fabienne Raabe

Institute Seminar by Alice Auersperg

Join in-person or online on zoom! [more]

Rado Seminar by Andrea Költzsch

Rado Seminar by Andrea Költzsch

Institute Seminar by Louise Riotte-Lambert

Rado Seminar by Katherine Snell

Rado Seminar by Katherine Snell

Institute Seminar by Miguel Aguilera

Rado Seminar by Jenna Kohles

Rado Seminar by Jenna Kohles

Final Presentations of the VTK

Rado Seminar

Rado Seminar by Camila Calderon

Rado Seminar by Camila Calderon
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