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Lab News

July 2019

Our manuscript on a novel class of modular fatty acid ascarosides from the bacterivorous nematode Caenorhabditis remanei has been published in Organic Letters. We utilized a combination of HPLC-MS/MS precursor ion scanning, micro-reactions, HR-MS/MS, MSn and NMR techniques to identify a series of fatty acid ascarosides that incorporate additional fatty acid building blocks. The structure of the dominating component called fasc#1 carrying a cyclopropyl fatty acid moiety was established by total synthesis. Biogenesis of this female produced male attractant depends on cyclopropyl fatty acid synthase (cfa), which is expressed in bacteria upon entering their stationary growth phase.

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June 2019

Our manuscript describing the role of homologs of Caenorhabditis elegans chemosensory genes for behavior and chemotaxis in the root-knot nematode Meloidogyne incognita was published in Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions. Using synthetic ascarosides from our lab the group of Uma Rao (ICAR-Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi, India) characterized behavioral responses in M. incognita and demonstrated their dependence on the chemosensory receptors odr-1, odr-3, tax-2, and tax-4.

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March 2019

Our manuscript on guided cobamide biosynthesis for the heterologous production of reductive dehalogenases in organohalide-respiring bacteria has been published in Microbial Biotechnology. We utilized a combination of HPLC-HR-MS/MS and NMR techniques to identify novel cobamides that carry a purine or an 5-azabenzimidazol unit as lower base ligands. Their biogenesis was studied using media enriched with 15N ammonia or 15N labelled yeast extract in combination with MS techniques, which demonstrated that these heteroaromatic building blocks are derived from the yeast extract supplement. The research was performed in collaboration with Dr. Torsten Schubert and Prof. Gabriele Diekert at the Department of Applied and Ecological Microbiology, Institute of Microbiology, Friedrich Schiller University, in Jena, Germany.

 

 

August 2018

Our manuscript on the biogenesis of polymethylated sodorifen in the rhizobacterium Serratia plymuthica has been published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS). We utilized a combination of comparative GC-MS and NMR analysis of wild-type and mutant strains along with in vitro assays with heterologously expressed enzymes to demonstrate that sodorifen biogenesis involves methylation and cyclization of the canonical farnesyl pyrophosphate by a C-methyltransferase (MT) to provide monocyclic pre-sodorifen pyrophosphate as a substrate for the terpene cyclase (TC). Furthermore, we employ in vivo feeding experiments with 13C labelled precursors along with NMR spectroscopy to elucidate the biogenetic pathway from farnesyl pyrophosphate via pre-sodorifen pyrophosphate to sodorifen. The research was performed in collaboration with Prof. Birgit Piechulla and her team at the University of Rostock, Germany.

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May 2018

A review article describing our research focusing on ascaroside glycolipids as key  signaling molecules in nematodes has been published in CHIMIA.

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May 2018

Dr. Bandi Siva joins the lab as a Postdoctoral Researcher.

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March 2018

Bastian Guerry joins the lab as an apprentice

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March 2018

Our manuscript describing comparative ascaroside profiling of various Caenorhabditis species and the characterization of species-specific (ω) and (ω – 2)-hydroxylation of ascaroside aglycones downstream of the peroxisomal β-oxidation cycle has been published in a special issue of the Journal of Organic Chemistry (JOC) dedicated to the synthesis of antibiotics and related molecules. The research was performed in collaboration with Prof. Jagan Srinivasan and Douglas K. Reilly from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), Massachusetts, USA.

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September 2017

Our manuscript describing a novel GC-EIMS-based ascaroside screen for crude nematode exo-metabolomes is accepted for publication in Analytical Chemistry (ACS).

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May 2017

Franziska Dolke receives her PhD degree (Dr. rer. nat.) from the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena, Germany, for her research on ascaroside components in Caenorhabditis species.

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March 2017

Chuanfu Dong receives his PhD degree (Dr. rer. nat.) from the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena, Germany, for his research on ascaroside components in Caenorhabditis species.

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Rocío Rivera Sanchez joins the lab as a PhD student.

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First worms grown in the nematode lab.

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February 2017

Célia Bergame joins the lab as a PhD student.

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September 2016

Swiss National Science Foundation grant application funded. The SNSF will provide support for a research project focusing on the comparative analysis of secondary metabolism in bacterivorous nematodes.

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August 2016

Stephan is honored to deliver the plenary lecture during the 32nd symposium of the European Society of Nematologists (ESN) in Braga, Portugal

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The Laboratory of Bioanalytical Chemistry is installed at the University of Neuchâtel.

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