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MicroBeeOme SIGNED

Evolution of the honey bee gut microbiome through bacterial diversification

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






Project "MicroBeeOme" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
address: Quartier Unil-Centre Bâtiment Unicentre
postcode: 1015

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country Switzerland [CH]
 Total cost 1˙499˙462 €
 EC max contribution 1˙499˙462 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2016-STG
 Funding Scheme ERC-STG
 Starting year 2017
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2017-03-01   to  2022-02-28


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 
1    UNIVERSITE DE LAUSANNE CH (LAUSANNE) coordinator 1˙499˙462.00


 Project objective

Animals harbor specialized bacterial communities in their guts, typically referred to as gut microbiomes. Despite the importance of gut microbiomes for host health, surprisingly little is known about their evolution. There is evidence that the complexity of the mammalian gut microbiome has emerged through the diversification of a few founder lineages. However, how lineages have diversified into discrete species and which underlying mechanisms maintain the diversity in the gut remains elusive. The current project will address these questions by studying the gut microbiome of honey bees. We have recently found that the eight dominant bacterial lineages in the honey bee gut have substantially diversified, which is a striking parallelism to the evolution of the mammalian gut microbiome. Moreover, we have established experiments to colonize microbiota-free bees with cultured isolates of divergent bee gut bacteria. This provides us with unique opportunities to study bacterial evolution in the gut in a simple and experimentally amenable system. The project is divided into four work packages addressing interconnected research questions of current biology: We will (i) determine the population genomic landscape of divergent gut bacteria, (ii) investigate whether bacterial diversification has resulted in competition or cooperation, (iii) discover novel mechanisms of bacterial interactions, and (iv) reveal how bacterial diversification impacts the symbiosis with the host. To this end, we will use a multidisciplinary approach combining comparative metagenomics, transcriptomics, metabolomics, bee colonization experiments, microscopy, bacterial genetics, and automated bee tracking. This project situated at the forefront of microbial symbiosis will provide groundbreaking insights into microbial evolution and ecology, gut microbiology, and honey bee health and biology.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2018 Germán Bonilla-Rosso, Philipp Engel
Functional roles and metabolic niches in the honey bee gut microbiota
published pages: 69-76, ISSN: 1369-5274, DOI: 10.1016/j.mib.2017.12.009
Current Opinion in Microbiology 43 2019-11-07
2019 Kirsten M. Ellegaard, Philipp Engel
Genomic diversity landscape of the honey bee gut microbiota
published pages: , ISSN: 2041-1723, DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-08303-0
Nature Communications 10/1 2019-11-07
2018 J. C. Jones, C. Fruciano, J. Marchant, F. Hildebrand, S. Forslund, P. Bork, P. Engel, W. O. H. Hughes
The gut microbiome is associated with behavioural task in honey bees
published pages: 419-429, ISSN: 0020-1812, DOI: 10.1007/s00040-018-0624-9
Insectes Sociaux 65/3 2019-11-07
2017 Lucie Kešnerová ,Ruben A. T. Mars ,Kirsten M. Ellegaard, Michaël Troilo, Uwe Sauer, Philipp Engel
Disentangling metabolic functions of bacteria in the honey bee gut
published pages: , ISSN: 1544-9173, DOI:
PLoS Biology, 15 (12) 1 2019-11-07
2018 Kirsten M. Ellegaard, Philipp Engel
New Reference Genome Sequences for 17 Bacterial Strains of the Honey Bee Gut Microbiota
published pages: , ISSN: 2576-098X, DOI: 10.1128/mra.00834-18
Microbiology Resource Announcements 7/3 2019-11-07
2019 Maryam Hussain, Germán Bonilla-Rosso, Cheong K.C. Kwong Chung, Lukas Bäriswyl, Maria Pena Rodriguez, Brian S. Kim, Philipp Engel, Mario Noti
High dietary fat intake induces a microbiota signature that promotes food allergy
published pages: 157-170.e8, ISSN: 0091-6749, DOI: 10.1016/j.jaci.2019.01.043
Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 144/1 2019-11-07
2017 Troilo, Michael; Sauer, Uwe; Engel, Philipp; Ellegaard, Kirsten; Mars, Ruben; Kesnerova, Lucie
Disentangling metabolic functions of bacteria in the honey bee gut
published pages: , ISSN: 1544-9173, DOI: 10.1101/157461
PLoS Biology, 15 (12) 1 2019-04-18

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