Mechanisms driving the interaction between marine virus and brown algae

Advisor: Susana Coelho

PhD Program: International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS) 'From Molecules to Organisms'
Location: Max Planck Institute for Biology  

Project description
Viruses are key players in ocean ecology and biogeochemistry, not only because of their functional roles but also due to their sheer abundance. It is estimated that the ocean contains 1X107 to 1X109 viral particles per mL of sea water. Phaeoviruses are latent double-stranded giant DNA viruses that insert their genomes into those of their brown algal hosts. Our model species Ectocarpus, is infected by one of such giant virus (Esv-1) which remains latent during vegetative growth but is induced to multiply in reproductive structures. Replication of Phaeovirus could be linked to a variety of external stimuli such as change in light and temperature. Giant viruses have been known for decades, but their biology and ecology, mechanisms underlying infection, prevalence in natural populations, and host defense systems are poorly understood. The aim of the PhD is to shed light into the proximate and ultimate mechanisms driving the interaction between marine Phaeovirus and the brown alga model Ectocarpus. The student will use a range of approaches, from cell biology, single-cell transcriptomics, and GWAS to identify the loci associated with susceptibility to viral infections. The project includes sampling of Ectocarpus populations in Japan and New Zeeland to determine the prevalence of Esv-1 in Natural populations and shed light on possible ecological factors affecting the infection. The student will also make use of strains already available in the laboratory.

More information about the research of Susana Coelho and a selection of recent publications can be found on herfaculty page.

To apply

Application deadline: 8 February 2023

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