Morphogenic Signaling Molecules

More and more examples show that bacterially produced small molecules contribute to the host’s fitness and development by acting as biological information carrier to maintain and modulate the multilateral interaction network. But fully characterized examples are still rare, and the mode-of-actions of those molecules are often not well understood.

We are investigating the model system Hydractinia echinata, a marine hydroid polyp, to identify key metabolites that induce biofouling.

The life cycle of the marine hydroid polyp H. echinata has a motile (larvae) and sessil reproductive phase (polyp). The irreversible morphogenesis from the motile larvae to the sessile primary polyp is induced by specific molecules from Pseudoalteromonas spp. But the structure determination and and mode of action of the signaling molecules has been so far elusive. We use a broad range of molecular biology methods to identify the bacterial cues and the receptor in the marine hydroid polyp to understand the interaction mechanisms in more detail.

Microorganisms protect and shape the colonial hydroid polyp Hydraktinia


Guo H, Rischer M, Westermann M, Beemelmanns C (2021) Two distinct bacterial biofilm components trigger metamorphosis in the colonial hydrozoan Hydractinia echinata. mBio 12(3), e0040121. Details PubMed Open Access PDF

Ghodsi Z, Kalbassi MR, Farzaneh P, Mobarez AM, Beemelmanns C, Amiri Moghaddam J (2020) Immunomodulatory function of antimicrobial peptide Ec-Hepcidin1 modulates the induction of inflammatory gene expression in primary cells of caspian trout (Salmo trutta caspius Kessler, 1877). Fish Shellfish Immunol 104, 55-61. Details PubMed Open Access PDF

Leichnitz D, Raguž L, Beemelmanns C (2017) Total synthesis and functional analysis of microbial signalling molecules. Chem Soc Rev 46(20), 6330-6344. (Review) Details PubMed

Rischer M, Leichnitz D, Beemelmanns C (2017) Bakterien-induzierte Morphogenese mariner Eukaryoten Wissenschaft. BIOSpektrum 2017(6), 634-637. (Review) Details Open Access Code

Klassen JL, Rischer M, Wolf T, Guo H, Shelest E, Clardy J, Beemelmanns C (2015) Genome Sequences of Three Pseudoalteromonas Strains P1-8, P1-11 and P1-30 Isolated from the Marine Hydroid Hydractinia echinata Genome Announc. 3(6), e01380-15. Details PubMed

Klassen JL, Wolf T, Rischer M, Guo H, Shelest E, Clardy J, Beemelmanns C (2015) Draft Genome Sequences of Six Pseudoalteromonas sp. Strains P1-7a, P1-9, P1-13-1a, P1-16-1b, P1-25 and P1-26, which Induce Larval Settlement and Metamorphosis in Hydractinia echinata Genome Announc. 3(6), e01477-15. Details PubMed


Dr. Christine Beemelmanns


Phone: +49 3641 532-1525 Email:

Michel Große

Master Student

Dr. Huijuan Guo

Post Doc

Phone: +49 3641 532-1560 Email:

Dr. Theresa Jautzus



Dr. Jamshid Amiri Moghaddam


Phone: +49 3641 532-1593 Email:

Chia-Chi Peng

PhD student


Maja Rischer

Guest Scientist

Phone: +49 3641 532-1575 Email: