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The Mexican leech Haementeria officinalis and its nutritional symbiont as a model system for the study of strict blood-feeding animal-microbe symbioses and bacteriocyte development

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






 LEECHSYMBIO project word cloud

Explore the words cloud of the LEECHSYMBIO project. It provides you a very rough idea of what is the project "LEECHSYMBIO" about.

environment    symbiont    biosynthesis    maintained    acquisition    intracellular    techniques    sequence    evolution    bacteriome    determined    metabolic    animals    vitamin    genomic    determinants    additional    insights    evolutionary    bacterial    developmental    officinalis    reconstruct    experiments    colonization    postdoc    genes    houses    siddallii    mexican    microscopy    analysed    haementeria    independent    rely    symbioses    identification    host    ensures    showed    microbe    leeches    strict    interactions    complementarity    providencia    symbiosis    efficient    unbalanced    model    habit    supplement    intricacies    medically    species    core    organ    lab    molecular    genomes    transfer    history    background    stages    researcher    organs    helobdella    genome    bioinformatics    feeding    sequenced    diet    chemical    specialised    leech    blood    deficiency    truly    isotope    symbionts    ideal    confronted    probing    nutritional    experimental    robusta    imaging    metabolomics   

Project "LEECHSYMBIO" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
city: WIEN
postcode: 1010

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 Austria [AT]
 Total cost 186˙167 €
 EC max contribution 186˙167 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.3.2. (Nurturing excellence by means of cross-border and cross-sector mobility)
 Code Call H2020-MSCA-IF-2018
 Funding Scheme MSCA-IF-EF-ST
 Starting year 2020
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2020-01-15   to  2022-01-14


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 
1    UNIVERSITAT WIEN AT (WIEN) coordinator 186˙167.00


 Project objective

Strict blood-feeding leeches are confronted with a strong B-vitamin deficiency and thus rely on bacterial symbionts to supplement their unbalanced diet. Recent evidence showed that the Mexican leech Haementeria officinalis houses in a distinct specialised organ intracellular Providencia siddallii symbionts, which have a highly reduced genome but maintained genes required for B vitamin biosynthesis. The aim of this proposal is to establish this leech as a model system for studying the intricacies of nutritional blood-feeding symbioses. The genomes of Providencia symbionts of 4 additional Haementeria species will be sequenced and analysed to identify core-metabolic pathways and to reconstruct the evolutionary history of this symbiosis. A draft genome sequence of the Mexican leech Ha. officinalis will be determined, providing unique insights into metabolic complementarity. Comparison with the available genome of the related non-blood-feeding leech Helobdella robusta will facilitate identification of genomic determinants of the acquisition/loss of the bacteriome and the blood feeding habit. Bacteriome development and colonization will be investigated using different developmental stages and advanced microscopy techniques. Host control and nutritional role of the symbiont will be studied using isotope probing experiments and state-of-the-art chemical imaging and metabolomics methods. This project will provide comprehensive insights into a nutritional symbiosis in medically relevant blood-feeding animals, including the evolution of specialised symbiosis organs and metabolic interactions between both partners. It will bring together a postdoc with a strong background in bioinformatics and bacterial symbionts with a host lab focused on experimental and molecular analysis of microbe-host interactions. This set-up ensures both an ideal environment for the postdoc on his way to an truly independent researcher, and an efficient two-way transfer of knowledge.

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The information about "LEECHSYMBIO" are provided by the European Opendata Portal: CORDIS opendata.

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