Dr. Margaret McFall-Ngai, University of Hawaii
Abstract: The coevolution of animals and plants with symbiotic microbes is now recognized as a common theme in biology. Most host-microbe interactions are horizontally transmitted, i.e., begin anew each generation, but very little is known about the initial cell-cell dynamics between the partners. This presentation will explore the nature of the first molecular discourse between host and symbiont in a model association, the squid-vibrio symbiosis. Recognition of the partners and resolution of specificity is achieved in this association over the course minutes to hours along a superficial ciliated epithelium. The timing and spatial relationships of the system allow for real-time analysis of these early events. Research to date demonstrates that the early reciprocal ‘priming’ of host and symbiont are essential for the progression of the partnership to a stable association.