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Dr. Adrien Assie


Department of Symbiosis

MPI for Marine Microbiology
Celsiusstr. 1
D-28359 Bremen


+49 421 2028-877


+49 421 2028-580

Adrien Assie (MPI MM)
Deep Se(a)quencing

Scientific interest

I am interested in the sym­bi­otic re­la­tion­ships between deep-sea in­ver­teb­rates and chemoauto­trophic bac­teria. These sym­bi­oses take place at hy­dro­thermal vents – unique ecosystems where the re­lease of hot flu­ids rich in in­or­ganic re­duced com­pounds into the sur­round­ing sea­wa­ter cre­at­es a local en­rich­ment in chem­ical en­ergy in an oth­er­wise en­ergy-lim­ited deep-sea. This allows for a partnership between sym­bi­otic bacteria that har­ness the en­ergy in re­duced chem­ical com­pounds to create or­ganic mat­ter, which provides nu­tri­tion for their an­imal hosts. Fil­a­ment­ous bac­teria are com­monly found in as­so­ci­ation with dif­fer­ent in­ver­teb­rate hosts, such as Bathymodiolusmus­sels or Alvino­carid shrimps.

My main projects focus on the study of the bathymodiolin deep-sea mussel symbiosis. In this fascinating study system the mussel is thought to completely rely on bacterial endosymbionts for its nutrition. However, our research has found that other bacteria are also involved in the symbiosis. My work investigates the epsilonproteobacterial epibionts that have been found associated with several species of bathymodiolin mussels. I am interested in their distribution patterns and understanding their metabolic potential and adaptations to a symbiotic life-style. Another system I am currently investigating is the internuclear pathogen infecting these same mussels. In particular, I am interested in understanding what allows this pathogen to invade and persist in the nucleus, an unusual niche to inhabit.

A secondary project I am working on is the characterisation of the ectosymbiotic bacterial populations associated with the hydrothermal vent shrimps Rimicaris. By comparing ectosymbiotic populations sampled at multiple locations throughout the Atlantic, I aim to understand the diversity of the bacterial population and the specificity of the uptake of bacteria by the host.

You can find more about me on my science blog:

Generally I am interested in the following topics:

  • Genome comparisons

  • The mechanisms driving the prokaryote-eukaryote interactions and how they evolved

  • The bacterial plasitcity to adapt to new and/or varying environmental conditions


  • A. Assié, C. Borowski, K. van der Heijden, L. Raggi, N. Leisch, N. Dubilier, J. M. Petersen. Environmental Microbiology Reports (2016) A specific and widespread association between deep-sea Bathymodiolus mussels and a novel family of Epsilonproteobacteria. doi:10.1111/1758-2229.12442

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